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PROPERTY OF 




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THE LIFE OF ROBERT E. LEE 
For Boys and Girls 



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GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE 



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BOSTON AND NFW YORK 

HOUGH'ION MIFFLIN COMPANY 

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THE 
LIFE OF ROBERT E. LEE 

FOR BOYS AND GIRLS 



J. G: DE ROULHAC HAMILTON 

AND 

MARY THOMPSON HAMILTON 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 

1917 



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COPYRXOBT, 19x7, BT HOUOBTON XIFFUN COMPANY 
ALL RXOBTB RSSBBTSD 

AiliiAtd October iqm^ 



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TO 

J. G. DE R. H., Jk. 

AND 

A. T. H. 

CITIZENS 

THANKS TO LEE, LINCOLN, AND GRANT 

OF AN UNDIVIDED COUNTRY 



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Recollect that we form one country now. 
Abandon all these local animosities and 
make your sons Americans. 

Lee. 



.<tr 



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PREFACE 

This book is written witli the hope that through 
it the life and character of Lee may become more 
real to the generation of young Americans now 
growing up. His was a life worthy of study by 
all young people, particularly those who are 
Americans. 

In the happy day to which we are now come, 
when the division between the sections, for years 
past one of sentiment alone, is fast disappearing, 
the Nation as a whole pays tribute to the lofty 
character, the sturdy Americanism, and the es- 
sential greatness of Robert Edward Lee no less 
than to that of Abraham Lincoln. If this little 
book, by making better known the character and 
purity of motive of Lee and those he represented, 
may in some degree hasten the time when the 
last trace of bitterness between the North and 
South shall have disappeared, the authors will 
feel that it has well fulfilled its purpose. There is 
a certain appropriateness in the year of its ap- 
pearance. As these words are written descend- 
ants of the followers of Lee, inspired by the same 
loyalty to their country which animates the sons 
of those who followed Grant, are testifying to 



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X PREFACE 

the fact that, in accordance with the precept and 
example of the leader of the Confederate armies, 
they have been trained to be Americans. The 
smrivors of the Confederate armies have just 
borne witness in Washington to their devotion 
to the flag of the united Nation. And we may 
dare hope that in the fires of the struggle in 
which we now engage will be consumed the last 
obstacle to a perfect union of hearts for all Amer- 
icans. 

The book makes no claim to any great addi- 
tion to the sum of knowledge in relation to Lee. 
It is in the main drawn from secondary sources, 
but a good deal of material touching upon Lee's 
life is included which appears in no other of his 
biographies. The works which have been chiefly 
relied upon are : Jones, Life and Letters of Gen- 
eral Robert E. Lee; R. E. Lee, Jr., Recollections 
and Letters of General Lee; F. Lee, General 
Lee; Bradford, Lee^ the American; Adams, Lee 
at Appomattox; and Dodge, Bird^s-Eye View of 
the Civil War. Other works which were also 
of particular value are: Bruce, Robert E. Lee; 
V^%%Rot)ert E.Lee; Taylor, General Lee; Trent, 
Robert E. Lee; Pollard, Life and Times of Robert 
E. Lee; White, Robert E. Lee and the Southern 
Confederacy ; Fleming, Jefferson Davis at West 
Point; Long, Memoir of Robert E. Lee; and The 
Centennial History of West Point. In addition 



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PREFACE xi 

several hundred articles bearing on Lee s char- 
acter and career have been studied carefully and 
material has been drawn from many of them. 

We are under obligations to the Reverend W. 
McC. White, of Raleigh, North Carolina, for un- 
published illustrative material, and we desire to 
make particular and grateful acknowledgment 
of the assistance of Mr. Edwin Greenlaw, of the 
University of North Carolina, who read the manu- 
script and made many helpful suggestions. 

J. G. DE R. H. 

M. T. H. 
Chapel Hux, N.C. 
June IS, 1917. 



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CONTENTS 

I. Lee's Forbears i 

11. Boyhood 9 

III. Life at West Point 18 

IV. The Young Engineer .... 36 
V. In Mexico 48 

VI. Years of Peace, 1848-1855 ... 66 
VI I. The Cavalry Officer .... 76 

VIII. State or Nation? 89 

IX. A Year of Trial 107 

X. In Chief Command 119 

XI. Life in the Army 137 

XII. Against Heavy Odds 151 

XIII. Appomattox 162 

XIV. After the War . . . . . .177 

XV. Lee and the Nation 194 

Index 201 



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ILLUSTRATIONS 

General Robert E. Lee . . . Frontispiece 

From a painting by Theodore Pine {1904) , in the pos- 
session of Washington and Lee University, Lexington, 
Va. 

Robert E. Lee 38 

From a portrait painted about 1831 by West {son or 
nephew of Benjamin West), in the possession of Wash' 
ington and Lee University. The uniform is that of a 
Second Lieutenant, Corps of Engineers, US, Army. 
This, the first painting of Lee, is said to have been made 
shortly after his marriage. 

General Lee on Traveler 148 

From a photograph by Miley & Son, Lexington, Va. 

Robert E. Lee 174 

From the painting by Pioto, in the possession of 
the Virginia Military Institute. 



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THE LIFE OF ROBERT E. LEE 

CHAPTER I 

LEE'S FORBEARS 

Lee, in character and personality, was a logical 
product of his lineage and training, and to be 
really able to understand him, one must know 
something of his race and his surroundings. 

The Virginia Lees were descended from the 
Lees of Shropshire, a family of high standing and 
position and one that had given many men of in- 
fluence to England before the time when Richard 
Lee set out for the New World. There was Lance- 
lot Lee, who took part in the battle of Hastings ; 
and Lionel Lee, who went with Richard Cceur 
de Lion on the Third Crusade to the Holy Land, 
and who, for his gallantry at Acre, was made the 
first Earl of Litchfield ; and Henry Lee, who won 
from Queen Elizabeth the coveted insignia of the 
Garter. 

Richard Lee, that ancestor of Robert Lee who 
first came from England to Virginia, was a tall, 
handsome man, possessed of great ability and 
strength of character. He settled in the Northern 
Neck, which was that part of the province lying 



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2 ROBERT E. LEE 

between the Rappahannock^nd Potomac Rivers, 
and soon became prominent there. He was ap- 
pointed a member of the Council and also served 
under Sir William Berkeley as Secretary of the 
Colony. He was a devoted Royalist and brought 
all his influence to bear to hold Virginia loyal to 
the House of Stuart. It is said that, when Crom- 
well died, it was Richard Lee who induced Berke- 
ley to proclaim Charles II, ** King of England, 
Scotland, France, Ireland, and Virginia." 

Richard's son, also named Richard, succeeded 
to the high position that his father had held. A 
member of the Council, he was the intimate friend 
of Governor Spotswood, who said of him, " No 
man in the country bore a fairer reputation for 
exact justice, honesty, and unexceptional loyalty." 
It is not improbable that he was one of that gal- 
lant band of gentlemen who accompanied Spots- 
wood to the crest of the AUeghanies and who 
there, after laying claim to the great West, formed 
the Order of Knights of the Golden Horseshoe. 

Thomas Lee, the fourth son of Richard, fol- 
lowed in his ancestors* footsteps and became a 
member of the Council, and was also for a time 
its president In this capacity, he served a while 
as acting governor of the Colony, in which he was 
probably more distinguished than any other man. 
He was later appointed governor, but died before 
his commission reached him. He was the father 



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LEE'S FORBEARS 3 

of Richard Henry Lee, who proposed the Decla- 
ration of Independence, of Francis Lightfoot Lee, 
who, along with his brother, signed that immortal 
document, and of Arthur Lee, who was one of 
the envoys who secured the aid of France in the 
Revolution. Thomas Lee lived at "Stratford" in 
Westmoreland County, and, having lost his house 
by fire, he built there the fine old mansion in 
which the greatest of the Lees was presentiy first 
to see the light Queen Caroline, from her private 
purse, sent him a considerable sum for the re- 
building of his home. This estate descended to 
Thomas's eldest son, Philip Ludwell Lee. 

A younger brother of Thomas Lee was Henry 
Lee, who married a Miss Bland and whose third 
son, also named Henry, was the famous " Light 
Horse Harry" Lee of the Revolution and the 
father of Robert Edward Lee. It was through 
his wife, a daughter of Philip Ludwell Lee, that 
"Stratford" passed into the hands of Robert 
Lee's father and so became the birthplace of that 
great man. 

"Light Horse Harry" Lee was bom in 1756 
and was educated at Nassau Hall, Princeton, 
from which institution he was graduated in 1774. 
Two years later he was placed in command of a 
cavalry company which was soon joined to the 
Continental Army under Washington. Lee was 
promoted to the rank of major and saw service 



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4 ROBERT E. LEE 

at Germantown and at Brandy wine and in many 
lesser batdes. His daring in capturing a British 
fort at Paulus Hook (now Jersey City) won for 
him a resolution of thanks from Congress and a 
gold medal besides. In 1780 he was made lieu- 
tenant-colonel, and the next year he joined Gen- 
eral Greene in the Carolinas. It was here, in the 
section already the scene of the exploits of Marion, 
Sumter, and Davie, that he won his greatest fame. 
After his brilliant feats in the Carolinas, his health 
failing, he returned to Virginia and there married 
his cousin Matilda Lee. Within a few years his 
wife and three of their four children had died, and 
later he married Anne Hill Carter, the daughter 
of Charles Carter of " Shirley," on James River, 
one of the most noted estates in Virginia. The 
Carters had given few illustrious names to Vir- 
ginia, but they possessed character, culture, and 
refinement, besides great wealth, and they had 
intermarried with most of the prominent families 
of the State. Anne Carter was a great-grand- 
daughter of Governor Spotswood, and was thus 
descended from Robert Bruce. 

" Light Horse Harry's " years of peace were not 
less distinguished than those of war. He was a 
member of the Congress of the Confederation in 
its closing days ; he served in the Virginia Con- 
vention which ratified the Constitution of the 
United States, where he acted with Washington, 



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LEE'S FORBEARS 5 

Madison, Marshall, and Randolph in securing the 
assent of the Old Dominion to the new form of 
government ; and, later still, he was a member of 
Congress. There, when Washington died, he pre- 
pared the memorial address containing the famous 
words " first in war, first in peace, first in the 
hearts of his fellow citizens." He was a firm ad- 
vocate of the Union, but was nevertheless a de- 
voted believer in the sovereignty of each indi- 
vidual State, and, when he was defending the 
Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions on the floor 
of Congress, he said, " Virginia is my country ; 
her will I obey, however lamentable the fate to 
which it may subject me " ; and he wrote to James 
Madison, " No consideration on earth could in- 
duce me to act a part however gratifying to me 
whicji would be construed into disregard of or of 
faitmessness to this commonwealth." This firm 
faith his son inherited. 

In 1794 he was appointed by President Wash- 
ington to the command of the troops sent to Penn- 
sylvania to suppress the so-called "Whiskey Re- 
bellion." In 1812 he was made a major-general 
in the United States Army. Unfortunately, soon 
afterwards he was seriously injured in Baltimore 
while defending a friend from mob violence and 
so could not serve in the second war with Eng- 
land. Because of his broken health he went to 
the West Indies and lived there five years, but 



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6 ROBERT E. LEE 

his strength continued to fail, and he set out for- 
home. On the voyage he grew rapidly weaker 
and begged to be landed at Dungeness on Cum- 
berland Island, Georgia, the home of General 
Nathanael Greene's widow. There he died and 
was buried, and there his body still rests. He was 
a man of fiery and impetuous spirit and made 
warm friends and bitter enemies. He was brave, 
generous, and the soul of honor, and was a fine 
type of the active, warm-hearted, able men whom 
the Old Dominion of that day produced in such 
numbers. 

From this lineage was bom Robert Edward Lee, 
and into what environment? 

The Virginia of 1807 was litde changed from 
Colonial Virginia. The life of the community was 
much the same. Means of transportation were not 
many and few people went often far from home. 
The great number of Virginians were farmers ; 
the plantation was the unit of the community; 
the negro slave the laborer who produced the 
staple crop, tobacco, which was almost as impor- 
tant at that time as in the days when it passed as 
money. The typical life of Virginia was its coun- 
try life ; a quiet life and an uneventful one, but 
one full of charm. The members of the leading 
class were closely bound together by association, 
by common interest, by friendships of long stand- 
ing, and by ties of blood. They intermarried until 



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LEE'S FORBEARS 7 

relationships were hard to trace clearly, and this 
confusion was increased by a pleasing habit of 
claiming as kindred those who were really only 
close friends, a habit which gave rise to the term 
"Virginia cousin," still known in the South as 
one indicating no close tie of blood. Year in and 
year out, the gentry of Virginia ruled over their 
plantations with patriarchal dignity and kindness, 
bred fine horses, raced and rode them, took part 
in politics, attended court, hunted and fished, and, 
not of least importance, danced and paid devoted 
court to the ladies. Everybody kept open house, 
paid visits which lasted for days, weeks, and even 
months at a time, and, in a sense, lived as one 
great family. It was a life of peace and happiness, 
but those who lived it were neither careless nor 
unworthy. America has had no finer type than 
those men who set the standards of this community. 
They exalted the State, womanhood, and religion, 
and practiced in their daily lives truth, courage, 
manliness, and kindness, and held firmly to the 
finest traditions of English life. They were un- 
touched by that progress which comes from con- 
tact with new people and new ideas, and were 
conservative from nature and habit, so that the 
love T^^hich their ancestors had felt for the Old 
Dominion in them became a passion for the State, 
and service for the State became an honor which 
no one was too lofty to accept. For the same rea- 



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8 ROBERT E. LEE 

son the will of the State commanded instant and 
absolute obedience. 

From this air Robert Edward Lee drew his first 
breath. 



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CHAPTER II 

BOYHOOD 

Westmoreland County, Virginia, is a little 
county lying between the Rappahannock and 
Potomac Rivers, which was originally cut off 
from Northumberland County. It is not more 
than thirty miles long and about half as broad, 
but it has probably produced more great men 
than any other spot of its size in the United 
States, George Washington was bom there, and 
James Monroe, as were also the famous Lees — 
Richard Henry, Francis Lightfoot, Arthur, and 
" Light Horse Harry." James Madison was bom 
not far away in Prince George County, which 
adjoins Westmoreland. 

Stratford, the Lee home, was one of the most 
beautiful and interesting of the Colonial mansions 
of Virginia. Its timbers were of solid hewn oak 
of great size, and the brick used in the building 
were brought from England. The walls of the 
first floor were two and a half feet thick and those 
above were two feet The house was meant to 
be a permanent family home, after Uie fashion of 
English houses, and was very stately. It contained 
seventeen rooms besides the great hall, and on 



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lo ROBERT E. LEE 

the roof were two pavUions or summer houses 
made with the chimneys for columns and con- 
nected by a gallery. From tBem was visible the 
broad expanse of the stately Potomac, and there 
at night in the olden time promenaded the ladies 
and gentlemen, while a band of negro servants 
played for them. Around the house were great 
oaks, cedars, and maples, and the drive through 
the grounds skirted a magnificent grove of the 
maples. There were, in addition to the house, four 
large offices, the kitchen, and stables to accommo- 
date perhaps a hundred horses. The buildings 
cost about eighty thousand dollars at a time when 
the purchasing power of money was much greater 
than it is now. The house is still standing. 

In this home, on January 19, 1807, was bom 
Robert Edward Lee. The room in which he was 
bom was the same one in which two signers of 
the Declaration of Independence had first seen 
the light. All the surroundings were full of tradi- 
tion, and all suggested culture and refinement, 
and stood for honor, sincerity, and patriotism. 
Here was a fit nursery of greatness, and the 
mind of the small boy, who was surrounded by 
books, by portraits of soldiers and statesmen, by 
beautiful silver and china and mahogany, must 
have been impressed to his future advantage. 

It has been seen that all of Lee's half-brothers 
and sisters save one died early. The one excep- 



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BOYHOOD II 

tion, Henry Lee, was already a grown man when 
Robert Lee was bom. Of his own mother's chil- 
dren, he was the fourth. The others were Alger- 
non Sydney, who died in infamcy, Charles Carter, 
and Sydney Smith, and two girls, Anne and Mil- 
dred, both younger than himself. 

Charles Carter Lee, after graduation at Har- 
vard, became a lawyer, and was one of the most 
talented and popular men in Virginia. Sydney 
entered the navy at fifteen years of age and 
served with distinction for many years. He com- 
manded Commodore Penys flagship in the fa- 
mous expedition to Japan ; was in command for 
a time of the navy yard at Philadelphia ; and, at 
the time that Virginia seceded, was commandant 
of the Naval Academy at Annapolis. True to the 
traditions of his race, he resigned and entered 
the Confederate Navy. He was the father of Gen- 
eral Fitzhugh Lee, of the Confederate Army, who 
was later, during the war with Spain, a major- 
general in the United States Army. Anne mar- 
ried Judge William Marshall, of Baltimore, and 
Mildred married Edward Vernon Childe, of Mas- 
sachusetts, and spent most of her later life in 
Paris. 

When Robert was four years old, his father 
moved with his family to Alexandria that his 
children might have better opportunities for edu- 
cation; but as the boy grew older he was often 



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16 ROBERT E. LEE 

at Stratford and spent much time at Shirley on 
the James River, which was the beautiful home 
of his mother's father, Charles Carter, a man of 
lofty character and princely generosity. At both 
places the past was vividly presented to him, not 
only by the things which surrounded him, but 
also by the old family servants who talked to him 
of its greatness. At both places he found com- 
panions in the many visitors, to whom the doors 
were always open wide, or, on the rare occasions 
when there were no visitors, in the little darkies, 
who loved to do " young master's " bidding, and 
act either as servants or as play-fellows to him. 
At both places he took part in the sports and 
games of rural Virginia : shot partridges, ducks, 
and geese ; fished, rowed, and sailed ; swam in 
the summer, and skated in the winter. He spent 
much time on horseback and became an expert 
horseman. He roamed freely through the woods 
and fields and came to have a love for the open 
which he never lost. In later years he often re- 
called running the fox on foot all day. 

It was not strange that he never lost his love 
for these two old places. In 1861, after the seizure 
of Arlington, he wrote his daughter : — 

Stratford is endeared to me by many recollections 
and it has always been the desire of my life to pur- 
chase it. And now that we have no other home, and 
the one we so loved has been so foully polluted, that 



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BOYHOOD 13 

desire is stronger in me than ever. The horse-chest- 
nuts you mention in the garden were planted by my 
mother. You do not mention the spring, one of the 
objects of my earliest recollections. How my heart 
goes back to those early days. 

In 1867, he wrote: — 

I wanted, if possible, to pass one day at Shirley. I 
have not been there for ten years. It was the loved 
home of my mother and a spot where I have passed 
many happy days in early life, and one that probably 
I may never visit again. 

It was two years after the Lees moved to Alex- 
andria that General Henry Lee went to the West 
Indies, that journey from which he never returned 
to Virginia. When he died, five years later, Rob- 
ert was only eleven and he never saw his father's 
grave until 1861. He was at that time in charge 
of the Confederate defenses of the Southern coast 
One who was with him says : " He went alone 
to the tomb and after a few moments of silence 
plucked a flower, and slowly retraced his steps, 
leaving the lonely grave to the guardianship of 
the crumbling stone and the spirit of the restless 
waves that perpetually beat against the shore." 
A few months before his death, he again visited 
the grave, this time with his daughter, who cov- 
ered the mound with flowers. 

Although Robert's father went out of his life so 
early, his mother was left to him. She was his in- 
timate friend, for she was the sort of mother a boy 



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14 ROBERT E. LEE 

could have for a friend. Her thought of her chil- 
dren, left entirely to her care, was unceasing, and 
her life was filled with good works. She was a 
woman of unusual gifts, and, when her two older 
sons left her, one for Harvard College, the other 
for the navy, she gave all her attention to the 
little fellow who was left at home and his two 
little sisters. His father wrote of him from the 
West Indies, " Robert was always good " ; and, 
striving to keep him so, Mrs. Lee impressed upon 
him principles and habits of action and thought 
destined to remain with him throughout his whole 
life. He was taught industry, self-denial, self- 
control, truth, religion. He was taught the les- 
sons of honor and pride of race along with mod- 
esty and self-eflacement. Patriotism he was bom 
to, and it was fostered in him through his school 
days at Alexandria. The place was full of asso- 
ciations of ** the Father of his Country," and, as 
Washington became there the hero and the ideal 
of Lee's boyhood, so he was in many ways the 
model of his manhood, and study of Washington 
teaches patriotism. 

Robert's first teacher in Alexandria was an 
Irish gentleman named Leary, under whom the 
boy made rapid progress. He did particularly 
well in Latin and Greek, for which he always 
kept his fondness. He and Leary were alwaj^ 
thereafter devoted friends. 



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BOYHOOD 15 

Later, after his appointment to West Point, 
Lee went to a well-known school in Alexandria 
conducted by Benjamin Hallowell. This gentle- 
man was a Quaker and a very strict teacher and 
the boys called his school " Brimstone Castle." 
He wrote in later years of his pupil : — 

He was a most exemplary student in every respect. 
He was never behind-time in his studies; never failed 
in a single recitation; was perfectly observant of the 
rules and regulations of the institution; was gentle, 
manly, unobtrusive, and respectful in all his deport- 
ment to teachers and his fellow students. His spe- 
cialty was finishing up. He imparted a finish and a 
neatness to everything he undertook. 

His mother was an invalid and he spent most 
of his time when out of school with her. As soon 
as school was over he hurried home to take her 
driving and often carried her to the carriage in 
his arms, placing her comfortably and seeking all 
the while to amuse her with cheerful conversa- 
tion. The carriage was old and he would put 
newspapers up to keep out the wind, and, though 
the plan may have been, and probably was, a 
failure in keeping out the air, it amused Mrs. 
Lee greatly and that, after all, was what her son 
sought to do. As her strength failed, the boy 
took other cares upon himself. He went to mar- 
ket, took charge of the keys, and saw to the 
horses and to all the many details of the home. 



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I6 ROBERT E. LEE 

It is not a matter for wonder that, when he left 
for West Point, his mother said : " How can I do 
without Robert? He is both son and daughter to 
me." In spite of his gendeness and tenderness 
and his affectionate nature, there was in him no 
lack of manliness. All sports appealed to him, 
and he had a keen sense of humor accompanied 
by a great fondness for jokes. These character- 
istics remained with him always. Like his father, 
he had a furious temper ; unlike his father, he had 
almost always absolute control over it It is told 
of his father that, as he lay on his death-bed at 
Dungeness, being waited upon by " Mom Sarah," 
an old family servant of the Greenes, he greeted 
her entrance into the room one day by seizing a 
boot which lay near the bed and throwing it at 
her head. She picked the boot up and returned 
the fire and thereby won such a place in his heart 
that he would thereafter have no other attendant 
It would be hard to picture Robert Lee's throw- 
ing a boot at any one's head or having it thrown 
back. 

As Lee grew towards manhood, he began to 
plan for the future, for, as there was no fortune 
at his command, he was anxious to be self-sup- 
porting. So far as we know, he consulted no one 
in his choice of a profession, but, guided largely 
by the fact that his father had been a soldier, 
chose that as his career. His brother was already 



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BOYHOOD 17 

in the navy, so Lee turned his eyes towards 
West Point, and, in 1824, applied for an appoint- 
ment, and received it for the term beginning in 
1825. There is a tradition that the appointment 
came to him through General Andrew Jackson's 
influence, but it is scarcely possible that this is 
true. As has been seen, he at once began special 
preparation for the new life, and, on July 2, 1825, 
he entered the United States Military Academy 
and became a part of that great institution. 



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CHAPTER III 

LIFE AT WEST POINT 

The United States Military Academy at West 
Point was established by act of Congress in 1802, 
and was opened on July 4 of the same year. Its 
first superintendent was Colonel Jonathan Wil- 
liams. As first organized, it was the headquarters 
of the Engineer Corps of the army, and all the 
superintendents until 1866 were from that branch 
of the service. The number of cadets was at first 
very small, only fifty, increasing to two hundred 
and six in 1808, and to two hundred and sixty in 
1 81 2. The cadets were appointed by the Presi- 
dent upon the recommendation of the Secretary 
of War, and Lee was thus appointed by Presi- 
dent Monroe, acting upon the advice of John C. 
Calhoun. It soon came about that the Secretary 
was much influenced in his choice by the sugges- 
tions of members of Congress, and later the num- 
ber of cadets was made to coincide with the 
number of Representatives, who then began to 
name the cadets. 

The exact status of the cadets was in doubt 
until 1819 when it was decided that they formed 
a part of the land forces of the United States. 



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LIFE AT WEST POINT 19 

The requirements for entrance at this time were 
very low — simply that the candidate should be 
" well versed in reading, writing, and arithmetic," 
or, as they were commonly called, "the three 
R's." The age of appointment was between four- 
teen and twenty-one years, and the applicant 
had to be at least four feet nine inches in height 
These requirements remained unchanged until 
1866. 

In spite of its establishment in 1802, and its re- 
modeling in 181 2, the real West Point did not 
begin to exist until fifteen years after the open- 
ing. There was neither discipline nor system, 
and the instruction was most uneven and incom- 
plete. An officer who was there during those first 
years wrote of it : " The Military Academy was 
then in its infancy. All order and regulation, 
either moral or religious, gave way to idleness, 
dissipation, and irreligion. No control over the 
conduct of the officers and the cadets was exer- 
cised." 

In 181 7, with the appointment as superintend- 
ent of Major Sylvanus Thayer, a graduate of the 
dass of 1812 and a veteran of the War of 1812, 
who had studied abroad, the spirit of West Point 
was bom. He remained as superintendent until 
1833 when he had a quarrel with President Jack- 
son and resigned his position. In those sixteen 
years, he made West Point and earned the just 



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20 ROBERT E. LEE 

title of "Father of the United States Military 
Academy." Under him discipline became steadily 
more efficient and severe, the teaching more and 
more thorough, and the course of study longer 
and better. Colonel Thayer was superintendent 
during the whole period of Lee's cadetship. 

West Point is beautifully situated. On the north 
and east it is hemmed in by the majestic Hudson 
River ; on the west and south by the Highlands. 
The Point itself is a plateau, which since Lee's 
time has been increased by filling, partiy enclosed 
by redoubts that date back to the Revolution. The 
natural scenery was beautiful then as it is to-day, 
but, when Lee went there, man had done litde to 
help nature. The rough, rocky plateau was almost 
without trees ; there were no made walks, but only 
twisting footpaths. A public road of the State of 
New York ran through the grounds — the State 
still claiming jurisdiction over the place. On the 
south there was a rough fence to keep out the cows 
of a farmer who lived in that direction, and the 
woods came almost to the Academy grounds. 
None of the present buildings were then stand- 
ing. Instead, there were cottages for instructors, 
the Long Barracks, where lived the regular troops 
stationed there, the North Barracks, the South 
Barracks, the Mess Hall, the Academy, and the 
Hospital. 

Even at this time West Point had a fine repu- 



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LIFE AT WEST POINT 21 

tation and thousands applied for appointments 
who never received them. Many failed on the 
entrance examinations, simple as they were. Lee 
had received special preparation from Mr. Hal- 
lowell and so was able to pass them without diffi- 
culty, and of course the physical examination 
gave him no trouble at all. Having passed his 
entrance examinations, which were oral ones, be- 
fore a board, Lee was admitted on probation until 
the following January, when the appointment be- 
came permanent. Upon his admission, under the 
law Lee entered the military service of the United 
States and became entitled to the pay of twenty- 
eight dollars a month. 

As soon as he was admitted to the Academy, 
he was measured for his uniform. It was not un- 
like that worn by the cadets of to-day. The coat 
was of gray cloth with black trimmings and with 
three rows of gilt buttons in front, and with the 
skirt, collar, and sleeves also trimmed with them. 
The collar was so high that it touched the tips 
of his ears. A gray or white vest with gilt but- 
tons was worn with this. The trousers, of which 
he was required to have two pairs, were of gray 
kerseymere with black stripes down the sides. In 
summer white linen trousers were worn, each 
cadet having at least four pairs. The trousers 
were all very baggy and so short that they came 
well above the shoe-tops, in spite of having straps 



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22 ROBERT E. LEE 

which went under the feet The cap was seven 
inches high. It was made of leather and was orna- 
mented with a plume, a cord, and a gilt medallion 
with " U.S." on it. It was so uncomfortable that 
few cadets wore it except on duty, but it had the 
advantage of being an easy means of smuggling 
food into barracks. 

The luxury that the cadets of to-day have was 
unknown to Lee and his fellow cadets. The build- 
ings were badly constructed and were hot in 
summer and cold in winter. The rooms in the 
barracks were only about twelve feet square and 
there were three, four, or even more cadets lodged 
in each. The furniture was the same in all the 
rooms and consisted of nothing more than a table, 
a book-shelf, a rack over the mantel for muskets, 
and a chair for each cadet. At night, narrow mat- 
tresses were spread on the floor. The only heat 
was supplied by fireplaces, and the wood for these 
was kept in great boxes in the halls. The cadets 
had to make their own fires, and, as in those days 
there were no matches, the blaze had to be started 
with flint, steel, and tinder. Each room was in 
charge of the cadets, serving in turn as orderlies. 
At the time Lee entered West Point, all the water 
had to be brought by the cadets from a spring on 
the grounds or from pumps, but in 1826, a water 
system was installed. Until this change was made 
there was not a bathtub at West Point 



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LIFE AT WEST POINT 23 

The Mess Hall contained classrooms as well as 
the dining-room. The latter was furnished with 
long, bare tables and wooden benches. The table- 
ware was all of tin or iron. Here a Mr. Cozzens 
furnished board for the cadets at ten dollars a 
month. The fare was usually plentiful, and, though 
it was plain, it was very good. At times there 
were exceptions in certain dishes, for one cadet 
wrote home that the soup was bad and " that a 
most filthy kind of Orleans molasses was served 
with some black-looking stuff contained in a tin 
pan which was honored with the name of pud- 
ding." Cozzens held the theory that " if you give 
young men plenty of first-rate bread and potatoes, 
they will require little meat and never complain." 
The cadets were very fond of his bread and often 
carried quantities away in their pockets and caps 
to eat later in their rooms. At each table one of 
the cadets did the carving and was responsible 
for the good order of his table. 

The course of study which was followed for the 
first year had only mathematics and French. Six 
hours a day were given to the former and three 
to the latter. During the second year the same 
amount of time was given to mathematics, but 
drawing alternated with French. In the third year 
natural philosophy was studied five hours a day, 
chemistry and drawing each two hours. In the 
last year the time was divided in this way : engi- 



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24 ROBERT E. LEE 

neering, five hours; chemistry, two l^ours; and 
constitutional law, ethics, and rhetoric, two hours. 
Every summer was spent in camp and the time 
was largely taken up with drilling and other out- 
of-door occupations. 

Soon after Major Thayer became superintend- 
ent, he planned a course based upon three funda- 
mentals : (i) that every cadet should be trained 
in every subject taught ; (2) that each should be 
proficient in all the subjects ; and (3) that every 
cadet should recite every day. That plan has 
been followed ever since. Cadets at West Point 
never bother their heads with wondering if they 
are going to be called on the next day and if it 
is worth while preparing. They know that they 
will be called on to recite in everything and that 
it. is well to be prepared. In Lee's time, as now, 
the classes were divided into small sections in 
order that each cadet might recite every day and 
also that each might receive individual instruc- 
tion. The grading of the work was on a basis of 
three as periect down to zero indicating an entire 
failure. 

Like most men Lee must have been strongly 
influenced by the men under whom he studied. 
The professor of mathematics was Charles Davies, 
who was a very distinguished writer m his field 
and whose textbooks are still often used. The 
cadets called him "Old Tush" because of his 



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LIFE AT WEST POINT 25 

projecting teeth, but they liked him personally 
and as a teacher. Another teacher of mathe- 
matics, Ross, was also excellent. He had long 
whiskers which he pulled nervously as he talked 
and he chewed tobacco all the time. The course 
in mathematics for the first year included alge- 
bra, geometry, and trigonometry ; for the second, 
descriptive geometry, conic sections, and analyti- 
cal geometry. 

The professor of French was Claudius Berard, 
and both the grammar and introductory book 
he used were written by himself. A reading and 
writing knowledge of the language were the chief 
things sought after in the course, and in the 
two years Lee read "Gil Bias" and Voltaire's 
"Charles XIL" 

Drawing was under the direction of Thomas 
Gimbrode, a Frenchman. For the first two years 
there was litde attempted in this line beyond 
copying drawings of heads and figures, and map 
drawing, which was of course important. In the 
third year there was some work given in land- 
scapes and topographical drawing. 

Natural philosophy, which included mechanics, 
physics, astronomy, electricity, and optics, was 
taught by Jared Mansfield. He was really a fine 
teacher, but was not very strict with the cadets. 
He looked old and was near-sighted, a misfor- 
tune of which the cadets took advantage. 



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26 ROBERT E. LEE 

Chemistry was under W. F. Hopkins. The 
course was almost as full then as it is to-day. It 
included in the fourth year geology and miner- 
^ogy, but there was no collection of minerals 
and there were no chemical laboratories. The 
most important study of the last year was en- 
gineering, including civil and military engineer- 
ing and architecture. David B. Douglas, an 
experienced teacher, and later a distinguished 
engineer, was professor. Only French textbooks 
were used in this course. 

The very last group of studies, taken up only 
in the fourth year, was that including geography, 
history, ethics, rhetoric, political economy, and 
constitutional law. The instructor was Thomas 
Warren. Of the course itself, as studied by Lee, 
we know little. Perhaps the most interesting fact 
that has come down to us about it is that one of 
the textbooks used in the course was Rawle on 
the Constitution, a book on Constitutional law, 
written by a distinguished lawyer and judge in 
Pennsylvania, which set forth in unmistakable 
terms the doctrines of state sovereignty and of 
secession. The following extracts show the nature 
of this teaching : — 

If a faction should attempt to subvert the govern- 
ment of a State for the purpose of destroying its re- 
publican form, the national power of the Union could 
be called forth to subdue it. Yet it is not to be under- 



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LIFE AT WEST POINT 27 

stood that its interposition would be justifiable if a 
State should determine to retire from the Union. 

It depends on a State itself whether it will continue 
a member of the Union. To deny this right would be 
inconsistent with the principle on which all our po- 
litical systems are founded, which is that the people 
have in all cases the right to determine how they shall 
be governed. 

The State may wholly withdraw from the Union. 

If a majority of the people of a State deliberately 
and peaceably resolve to relinquish the republican 
form of government, they cease to be members of the 
Union. 

The secession of a State from the Union depends on 
the will of the people of such a State. 

It is likely that the influence of this book on 
Southern men has been much exaggerated as 
the doctrine of States' Rights had been learned 
first at home by them all. The whole country 
had believed in States' Rights at first and as yet 
no question concerning the doctrine had arisen 
to force a decision. 

One other man whose influence must have 
been felt by Lee was the chaplain, Charles P. 
Mcllvaine, later Episcopal Bishop of Ohio. He 
left the Academy in 1827, so that Lee never 
studied under him, but the effect of his character 
and preaching had been to change the attitude 
of the whole Academy towards religion, which, 
until Mr. Mcllvaine's time, had been often a sub- 
ject for scoffing and ridicule. No cadet had 



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28 ROBERT E. LEE 

ever knelt at prayers until, during Lee's first year, 
Leonidas Polk, of North Carolina! later Bishop 
of Louisiana and a Confederate major-general, 
set the example, which others followed. 

Scarcely less important than the classwork was 
the military drill and instruction in military tac- 
tics. The cadets were formed into a battalion of 
four companies under the commandant When 
Lee entered West Point, Major William J. Worth 
was commandant and remained so until some 
time during his last year, when Captain Ethan 
Allen Hitchcock succeeded him. Major Worth 
was an able commandant and a true soldier. He 
later served with distinction as a general in the 
Mexican War. The cadets called him " Haughty 
Bill," but they were devoted to him, and the 
value of his influence in setting the standard of 
officers and gentlemen can hardly be estimated. 
Captain Hitchcock, known among the cadets as 
" Old Hitch," was not nearly so popular. 

Infantry drill took place every day; artillery 
drill less often, and cavalry drill, at that time, not 
at all. The superintendent constantly asked for 
horses that the cadets might not forget how to 
ride.- Lee stood in no danger of forgetting, as 
riding had long before become second nature to 
him. 

The infantry drill was modeled upon the tactics 
of the United States Army, and was complete in 



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LIFE AT WEST POINT 29 

every way. Artillery drill was very severe, as, 
lacking horses, the cadets themselves had to put 
on the harness in turn and drag the heavy can- 
non over the parade ground. Lieutenant Kinsley 
was the instructor. In addition to drill regular 
classes in military science were held for the first 
class, that is, the highest class, in the Academy. 
To Lee even as a cadet, all things military were 
attractive. He was a bom soldier, and he was 
steadily promoted until in his last year he won 
the coveted post of adjutant of the battalion. His 
son, George Washington Custis Lee, gained the 
same honor just twenty-five years later. The 
Academy maintained the strictest discipline. 
The breaking of regulations was promply pun- 
ished by demerits affecting class standing, by 
extra sentinel duty, by confinement to rooms or 
guard-house, or, in the more serious cases, by 
trial by court-martial and dismissal upon convic- 
tion. Lee, during his entire four years, never re 
ceived a demerit or subjected himself to pun- 
ishment 

The cadets' day was filled with work. At 5.45 
in the morning, reveille sounded. This was fol- 
lowed immediately by roll call. The rooms in 
barracks all had then to be put in order for a close 
inspection before 7.45, when the squads of cadets 
marched separately to breakfast No talking was 
allowed during this or any meal, and class-work 



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30 ROBERT E. LEE 

began immediately afterwards and lasted un- 
til 12.3a One o'clock was the dinner hour, and 
classes were taken up again at two and lasted 
until four, when drill began. At sunset, there was 
parade, followed by prayers and supper. At eight 
all cadets had to be in their rooms and at work. 
At ten taps sounded the signal for the lights to 
be put out. 

In spite of the hard work and rigid discipline, 
fun was not lacking at West Point There was 
not then the gay social life the place has to-day, 
for it was out of touch with the outside world and 
very hard to reach. There were no dances, though 
dancing was taught for the purpose of keeping 
the cadets from awkwardness. Nor was there the 
flock of pretty girls making the cadets feel im- 
portant and lessening the number of brass but- 
tons on their coats. But every Saturday was a 
half-holiday and the country surrounding West 
Point gave opportunity for long, delightful walks 
and for some good hunting. All winter the skat- 
ing was good and almost every cadet learned to 
skate, an art which Lee had already learned in 
his boyhood in Virginia. Strong ties of friend- 
ship were formed, many of them to last through 
life. At West Point with Lee were Albert Sidney 
Johnston, Joseph E. Johnston, Jefferson Davis, 
Leonidas Polk, John B. Macgruder, William 
N. Pendleton, T. H. Holmes, A. G. Blanchard, 



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LIFE AT WEST POINT 31 

L. B. Northrop, Philip St George Cocke, G. B. 
Crittenden, Hugh W. Mercer, Gabriel S. Rains, 
Richard C. Gadin, and Thomas F. Dra3rton, all 
of whom later became distinguished Confederate 
officers. Among those who became prominent as 
Federal officers were A. B. Eaton, Silas Casey, 
S. P. Heintzelman, Philip St George Cooke, 
O. A. Humphreys, W. H. C. Bartiett, Benjamin 
Alvord, R. C. Buchanan, T. A. Davies, R. B. 
Marcy, T. J. McKean, and William H. Emory. 
A. E. Church was a noted professor at West 
Point, and O. M. Mitchel won fame as an as- 
tronomer. 

Lee was not given to forming intimacies quickly, 
although there was about him no trace of snob- 
bishness or aloofness. One deep friendship was 
formed which lasted all his life. This was with 
Joseph E. Johnston. When they met in after 
years, it was with all the demonstrativeness of 
school-boys, and for years they wrote to each 
other regularly. Johnston's tribute to Lee is sig- 
nificant He said : — 

We had the same associates, who thought, as I did, 
that no other youth or man so united the qualities 
that win warm friendship and command respect. For 
he was full of sympathy and kindness, genial and 
fond of gay conversation and even of fun, that made 
him the most agreeable of companions, while his cor- 
rectness of demeanor and language and attention to 
all duties, both personal and official, and a dignity as 



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32 ROBERT E. LEE 

much a part of himself as the elegance of his person, 
gave him a superiority that every one acknowledged 
in his heart. 

Speaking of him at another time, Johnston 
said: — 

He was the only one of all the men I have known 
who could laugh at the faults and follies of his friends 
in such a manner as to make them ashamed without 
touching their affections. 

Lee and Jefferson Davis were good friends 
without being on terms of intimacy. They were 
destined to be thrown closely together in the 
future, and their friendship, steadily increasing all 
the time, carried them through many rough places. 

One of the favorite amusements of the cadets 
was a trip to Buttermilk Falls, two miles away, 
where one Benny Havens sold food and drink, 
peculiarly adapted to the taste of a cadet This 
was a forbidden pleasure, and Lee's passion for 
duty kept him away, but many adventurous 
cadets, including some of the best and strongest 
men at West Point, went often. The two John- 
stons, like Lee, did not, but Jefferson Davis was 
court-martialed for drinking there, and, on one 
occasion, in escaping, he fell sixty feet over a cliff 
and received injuries that came near being fatal. 
Benny Havens lived until 1877, and West Point- 
ers still sing a song of many verses called " Benny 
Havens, OL" 



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LIFE AT WEST POINT 33 

At Christmas of Lee's second year occurred 
the "great riot." The cadets had planned an 
egg-nog party, and invitations had been sent 
around and accepted by many. Among those 
who declined were Lee and J. E. Johnston. News 
of this plan leaked, and the authorities kept care- 
ful watch, and, just as the affair was beginning, 
officers stepped in and broke it up. A serious 
riot followed, and the cadets, hearing that the 
regular troops stationed at West Point had been 
called out, formed what they called "the Helve- 
tian League " to protect themselves. Nine cadets 
were later dismissed from the Academy for par- 
ticipation in all this. This sort of thing had little 
attraction for Lee. Throughout his whole life he 
was extremely abstemious, never using tobacco, 
rarely touching wine, and never using whiskey 
or brandy. 

In 1828 Lee took the usual furlough and re- 
turned home for a visit of some months. This 
visit was marked by a great event in his life. He 
met again Mary Randolph Custis with whom 
he had played in childhood at Arlington. She 
was the daughter of George Washington Parke 
Custis, a grandson of Mrs. Washington and the 
adopted son of Washington. Mary Custis had 
grown into a charming young woman and Lee 
into a handsome young soldier, and, as the re- 
sult of this meeting, Lee returned to West Point 



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34 ROBERT E. LEE 

engaged to be married. A cousin of Lee's wrote 
of him at this time : — 

The first time I remember being struck with his 
manly beauty and attractiveness of manner was when 
he returned home after his first two years [three was 
correct] at West Point. He came with his mother and 
family on a visit to my father's. He was dressed in 
his cadet uniform of West Point gray with white 
bullet buttons, and everyone was filled with admira- 
tion of his fine appearance and lovely manners. 

Lee returned to West Point for his final year. 
As adjutant of the battalion, he was the most 
prominent and commanding figure among the 
cadets. Up to this time, he had held the second 
place in his class, the first being held by Charles 
Mason, of New York, and he succeeded in keep- 
ing it during the final year, graduating second 
in a rather unusual class of forty-six members. 

The ideal of West Point has been always that 
each of its graduates should be an honorable, 
courageous, clear-thinking man, well trained for 
his profession, not only in technical military sci- 
ence, but also in all that goes to make an able 
officer. The Academy has been wonderfully suc- 
cessful in achieving this. The scroll of the Acad- 
emy shield bears the significant words, " Duty, 
Honor, Country," and devotion to these three 
has been characteristic of the sons of West Point. 
All three had been taught Lee in his childhood, 



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LIFE AT WEST POINT 35 

but his life at West Point emphasized them and 
left its stamp upon him, as it has upon the vast 
majority of those who have there been trained 
to answer the call of country in peace as well as 
in war. 



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CHAPTER IV 

THE YOUNG ENGINEER 

The Engineer Corps of the United States Army 
has been, ever since the establishment of the Mili- 
tary Academy, a body of men of high distinction* 
The West Point cadets who have achieved first 
honors are those assigned to it upon their pro- 
motion to the Army, and it is thus made up of 
scholarly men who have shown themselves capa- 
ble and obedient soldiers. Many distinguished 
men and able soldiers have served in the corps. 
These men have charge of coast defenses and 
forts and other fortifications. They also plan and 
direct the government work on rivers and har- 
bors. In recent years they have done a wonderful 
piece of work in the construction of the Panama 
Canal. 

To this body Lee was assigned upon his grad- 
uation and was conmiissioned a second lieuten- 
ant At this time the life of the officers in other 
branches of the service was not, as a rule, attrac- 
tive. The army posts were often remote and 
sometimes practically cut off from the civilized 
world. The life was narrowing, with litde incen- 
tive to study or hard work of any kind, and this 



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THE YOUNG ENGINEER 37 

feict, combined with the dullness of the life, formed 
a strong temptation to dissipation. In the Corps 
of Engineers, life was very different Most of its 
members were regularly assigned to work close 
to some city and so were in close touch with the 
world. They were apt to lead a somewhat gayer 
life than other officers, but usually it was a fuller 
life as well and one with greater opportunity for 
self-development. 

After the usual short leave of absence or fur- 
lough, Lee was stationed at Fortress Monroe, in 
Virginia, the oldest of the coast defenses of the 
United States. He was delighted at being sent 
back home, and he enjoyed the five years he 
spent there as assistant to Captain Talcott, seek- 
ing to strengthen the defenses of Hampton Roads 
to a point where they could never be taken. It 
was while Lee was there that the famous negro 
uprising at Southampton took place, in which 
more than sixty white persons, the majority of 
them women and children, were murdered. Lee, 
like every one else, felt the horror of the thing 
deeply and it made a great impression upon him. 

Soon after he went to Fortress Monroe, Lee 
was summoned to his mother, who was dying at 
" Ravensworth," in Fairfax County. Her death 
was a great sorrow to him, for he had with in- 
creasing years come to understand her better and 
to appreciate her worth even more than in his 



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38 ROBERT E. LEE 

early years. In 1869, the year before his death, 
he visited " Ravensworth," and, as he passed the 
door of the room in which she died, he said: 
" Forty years ago, I stood in this room by my 
mother's death-bed I It seems now but yesterday." 
Lee was married on June 30, 1831, at Arling- 
ton, to Miss Custis. The newspaper notice of the 
wedding was simply : — 

Married June 30, 1831, at Arlington House, by the 
Reverend Mr. Keith, Lieut. Robert E. Lee, of the 
United States Corps of Engineers, to Miss Mary A. 
R. Custis, only daughter of G. W. P. Custis, Esq. 

The party gathered at Arlington must have 
been one of the gayest the house had ever known. 
The place was filled with guests, including six 
bridesmaids and six groomsmen, five of the lat- 
ter being officers in the army or navy. As wed- 
ding journeys were not the fashion in those days, 
the young couple and their guests made merry 
for a week and the house was full of life and gay- 
ety. Then the Lees settled down to life together, 
a life to be marked throughout by the deepest 
devotion and most perfect understanding. Mary 
Custis Lee was a woman of unusual strength of 
mind and character and she had received a fine 
education. She proved herself a fit mate for a 
great man. 

The demands of Lee's profession took him 
often from home and this fact had been brought 



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ROBERT E. LEE 



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THE YOUNG ENGINEER 39 

forward by Mr. Custis, who had at first opposed 
the engagement, as one of the reasons against 
the match. Lee's bride was the only child of a 
very wealthy father, but she chose to fit her life 
to her husband's very modest income and for 
years they lived upon that alone. Later, she in- 
herited two splendid Virginia estates, Arlington, 
and the White House on the Pamunkey River, in 
New Kent County. Arlington was one of Vir- 
ginia's most beautiful homes. It was built by 
George Washington Parke Custis. It occupied a 
commanding site upon the top of an elevation 
more than three hundred feet above tide-water 
of the Potomac and half a mile from the river's 
shore. The building was of brick and had a 
frontage, including the main building and the 
two large wings, of one hundred and forty feet. 
In front was a grand portico with eight magnifi- 
cent Doric columns. It was sixty feet across and 
twenty-five feet in depth. It was modeled after 
the Temple of Theseus at Athens. The house 
held many relics of Washington and other con- 
nections of the family and was filled with memo- 
ries and traditions of the good and great. In 
front of the house was a fine park of two hundred 
acres, sloping to the Potomac, dotted with groves 
of oak and chestnut trees and with clumps of 
evergreens. Behind, was a dark old forest con- 
taining many magnificent trees, most of them 



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40 ROBERT E. LEE 

very old, and covering about six hundred acres 
of hill and dale. Through a part of this forest, 
wound the road to the house. The view from the 
house was, and is still, superb. One looked out 
upon the Potomac and across to Washington 
and Georgetown with beautiful views of the Cap- 
itol, the White House, the Smithsonian Institu- 
tion, and the Washington Monument. The view 
of the river is particularly fine. On the grounds 
at the edge of the river was a magnificent spring 
set in a grove and coming out of the roots of a 
splendid oak. Here Mr. Custis, who was the soul 
of hospitality, had built a wharf, storeroom, 
kitchen, dining-room, and dancing pavilion. This 
place was very popular with picnic parties from 
Washington who were welcome to come any day 
except Sunday, provided no liquor was sold 
there. In 1852, it was estimated, twenty thousand 
people visited the place. On the grounds was a 
willow tree, called "Pope's Willow." It had 
grown from a slip planted there by a British offi- 
cer in 1775. The slip was obtained from a weep- 
ing willow which had grown from a slip brought 
from the East and planted in Pope's villa at 
Twickenham, in England, which became the par- 
ent tree of all the weeping willows in England. 
The one at Arlington is the parent tree of all the 
weeping willows in the United States. Here at 
Arlington, Lee and his wife lived with Mr. and 



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THE YOUNG ENGINEER 41 

Mrs. Custis ; here their children were bom ; and, 
to them all, this home was associated with the 
greatest happiness of their lives. 

The other estate, the White House, also had 
its historic associations. It was there that Wash- 
ington courted the widow Custis ; there they 
were married and spent their honeymoon of 
three months. The house was no such imposing 
mansion as that at Arlington. It was a simple 
country house, comfortable for its time. It was 
built by William Claiborne, Secretary of the Col- 
ony of Virginia, to whom the place had been 
given for a victory over the Pamunkey Indians. 
Claiborne, it will be remembered, was the man 
who defied Lord Baltimore in regard to the own- 
ership of Kent Island in the Chesapeake, and act- 
ually began armed hostilities against the Mary- 
land settlers who interfered with his rights. It was 
for this estate that the President's Mansion at 
Washington is named. 

Lee, unlike many officers of his day, did not 
stop his studies with his graduation from the 
Academy. In his branch of the service, promo- 
tion came in no other way than through work, 
and Lee, with all his modesty, was properly am- 
bitious. He studied his profession with the same 
earnestness he had shown while learning his les- 
sons at school, and he made rapid progress. In 
1834, he was ordered to Washington as assistant 



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42 ROBERT E. LEE 

to the chief engineer. This suited him well, as it 
enabled him to live at Arlington and ride in to his 
office every day. Many of his old friends were 
already in Washington and he rapidly made new 
ones. A group of his friends had a "mess" at 
Mrs. Ulrich's, whose house was on the spot where 
the Riggs House was later to stand. In this group 
was Joseph E. Johnston, Lee's intimate friend, to- 
gether with several others, including Mahlon 
Dickerson, Secretary of the Navy ; William C. 
Rives, former minister to France, then a Sena- 
tor ; Hugh S. Legar6, an eminent South Carolina 
lawyer, then in Congress ; and Joel R. Poinsett, 
Secretary of War. Lee was often cut off from 
home by bad roads and at such times was one of 
this gay and joyous group of congenial friends. 
One of the number was John N. Macomb, who 
had been at West Point with Lee, but in a lower 
dass. One day, as Lee was mounting his horse 
to start for Arlington, he saw Macomb approach- 
ing. He called, "Come, get up with me." Ma- 
comb leaped up behind him on the horse and the 
two galloped off down Pennsylvania Avenue. As 
they passed the White House they met Levi 
Woodbury, the Secretary of the Treasury, whom 
they greeted with a great assumption of dignity, 
much to that gendeman's bewilderment 

In 1835 Lee was made assistant astronomer of 
the commission to run a boundary line between 



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THE YOUNG ENGINEER 43 

Ohio and Michigan, and the next year he was 
promoted to first lieutenant of engineers. A year 
later a great task was intrusted to him. The city of 
St. Louis was in great danger because of the de- 
flection of the current of the Mississippi River to 
the Illinois side, with the practical certainty that, 
unless something was done to prevent it, it would 
cut a new channel and thus leave St Louis "high 
and dry," which would, of course, mean ruin to 
the city. Whatever was to be done had to be 
done quickly, and General Scott was asked for 
aid. His reply was that he knew only one man 
equal to the task and that was Lieutenant Lee. 
" He is young, but, if the work can be done, he 
will do it." So Lee left Arlington and his work 
in Washington with the large order to make the 
Father of Waters behave. He was also directed 
to make surveys and prepare plans for improv- 
ing the navigation of the river in the neighbor- 
hood of St. Louis and above. 

Lee left Washington in June and went by canal 
to Pittsburgh and from there traveled by steam- 
boat to St. Louis. It was a most exciting trip, for 
again and again they came near disaster, and 
did assist in the rescue of some who had been 
wrecked. 

After careful inspection of the river, Lee recom- 
mended the building of a system of piles and 
dams. His report was accepted by the War De- 



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44 ROBERT E. LEE 

partment, and Lee was given charge of the con- 
struction work. The plan seemed absurd to the 
people of St Louis, who knew little or nothing 
of engineering, and they became much excited. 
The large appropriation which the city had made 
for the work was withdrawn. Lee said quietly 
when he was told of this, " They can do what 
they like with their own, but I was sent here to 
do certain work, and I shall do it." He and his 
men were threatened and abused, and cannon 
even were brought to use against them. In spite 
of it all, heedless of criticism, Lee carried his 
task to a successful end. Not only was St. Louis 
saved, but this was the beginning of the improve- 
ment of the navigation on the Upper Mississippi. 
In 1838 Lee was promoted to the rank of cap- 
tain of engineers and was kept in the West for a 
number of years. A part of the time his family 
were with him, but, now that there were children, 
they lived most of the time in Arlington. There 
were seven children, three sons and four daugh- 
ters. They were George Washington Custis, 
William Henry Fitzhugh, Robert Edward, Mary, 
Annie, Agnes, and Mildred. Lee called Custis, 
"Boo," and William Henry Fitzhugh, "Rooney," 
and Mildred, his youngest daughter, " Precious 
Life." His devotion to them all was deep, and 
his letters are full of allusions to them which 
show his interest in what they were doing and 



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THE YOUNG ENGINEER 45 

also his strong desire to be with them. His love 
for children went further than his own, and chil- 
dren always knew that he loved them and so 
were never afraid to approach him. The fol- 
lowing letter to his wife shows his feeling for 
them: — 

St. Louis, September 4, 1840. 
A few evenings since feeling lonesome, as the saying 
is, and out of sorts, I got a horse and took a ride. On 
returning through the lower part of the town, I saw a 
number of little girls all dressed up in their white 
frocks and pantalets, their hair plaited and tied up 
with ribbons, running and chasing each other in all 
directions. I counted twenty-three nearly the same 
size. As I drew up my horse to admire the spectacle 
a man appeared at the door with the twenty-fourth 
in his arms. "My friend," said I, "are all these your 
children?" "Yes," he said, "and there are nine more 
in the house, and this is the youngest." Upon further 
inquiry, however, I found that they were only tem- 
porarily his, and that they had been invited to a 
party at his house. He said, however, he had been 
admiring them before I came up, and just wished 
that he had a million of dollars and that they were 
his in reality. I do not think the eldest exceeded 
seven or eight years old. It was the prettiest sight I 
have seen in the West, and perhaps in my life. 

In 1840 Lee returned to Washington, and in 
1842 he was sent to Fort Hamilton in New York 
Harbor to take charge of the work of improving 
the defenses of that city. Two years later, while 
still engaged on this work, he served on the 



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46 ROBERT E. LEE 

Board of Visitors of the Military Academy, an 
assignment which was particularly pleasant to 
him. He remained for several years at Fort 
Hamilton, and very happy years they were, for 
his family were all with him and his surroundings 
were delightful. He gathered around himself 
here, as he had everywhere done, pet animals to 
which he was strongly attached. Chief among 
these, was a black and tan terrier named " Spec." 
Spec's mother had been saved from drowning in 
the " Narrows " by Lee, as he was once crossing 
to Staten Island, and carried home, where she 
soon became a great favorite with the entire 
family. Spec was bom in the fort and was con- 
sidered a member of the family. He soon devel- 
oped a habit of going everywhere the other 
members went When he began to go to church 
with them, Lee was much annoyed and tried in 
every way to discourage the habit. He finally 
shut the little fellow up on the second floor of his 
quarters, only to have him jump bravely down 
and join the family party. Lee's affection for him 
is shown in a letter written from the fort while 
his wife and children were at Arlington on a visit 
He says : — 

I am very solitary and my only company is my 
dog and cats. But "Spec" has become so jealous 
now that he will hardly let me look at the cats. He 
seems to be afraid that I am going off from him, and 



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THE YOUNG ENGINEER 47 

never lets me stir without him. Lies down in the 
office from eight to fom* without moving, and turns 
himself before the fire as the side from it becomes 
cold. I catch him sometimes sitting up looking at me 
so intently that I am for a moment startled. 

Later, he wrote from Mexico : — 

Can't you cure poor "Spec"? Cheer him up — 
take him to walk with you and tell the children to 
cheer him up. 

Again he wrote : — 

Tell him I wish he was here with me. He would 
have been of great service in telling me when I was 
coming upon the Mexicans. When I was reconnoiter- 
ing around Vera Cruz, their dogs frequently told me 
by barking when I was approaching them too nearly. 

Upon Lee's return from the Mexican War, 
"Spec's*' delight was without bounds. 

From the happy, peaceful life at Fort Hamil- 
ton, Lee was called by the outbreak of the war 
with Mexico. 



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CHAPTER V 

IN MEXICO 

In 1846 there was an outbreak of war between 
the United States and Mexico along the frontier. 
In command of the United States troops in Texas 
was General Zachary Taylor, a Virginian by birth, 
who had gained some little reputation in the long- 
drawn-out struggle with the Indians. The early 
battles of the war were fought under his direction 
and command. It was entirely due to the renown 
he won in such battles as Palo Alto, Resaca de la 
Palma, Matamoras, Monterey, and Buena Vista 
that he was later elected President of the United 
States. He possessed genuine military genius and 
was a silent and a stem man. His lack of formality 
and ceremony had already gained for him the 
nickname, " Old Rough and Ready," in contrast 
to that given General Scott, "Old Fuss and 
Feathers." 

When it became evident, after hostilities had 
actually begun, that this war was really a serious 
one, three lines of attack by the United States 
were decided upon. One army, under Taylor, was 
to go by way of Matamoras, on the Rio Grande, 
into the interior; a second, under General Kearny, 



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IN MEXICO 49 

was to invade New Mexico and California; and 
a third, under General Wool, was to descend 
upon the northern part of Mexico. With this last 
army Lee went for the first time into the field. 
In the war he served with such distinction that it 
may be said that his whole later career was the 
result of this brilliant beginning. The life he led 
at this time was described in his letters home. In 
one to his wife, written soon after he reached 
Mexico, he says : — 

We have met with no resistance yet. The Mexicans 
who were guarding the passage retired on our ap- 
proach. There has been a great whetting of knives, 
grinding of swords, and sharpening of bayonets ever 
since we reached the river. 

Writing to his two oldest sons on Christmas 
Eve of 1846, he says: — 

I hope good Santa Claus will fill my Rob's stocking 
to-night; that Mildred's, Agnes's, and Anna's may 
break down with good things. I do not know what he 
may have for you and Mary, but if he only leaves for 
you one half of what I wish, you will want for nothing. 
I have frequently thought if I had one of you on 
each side of me riding on ponies, such as I could get 
you, I would be comparatively happy. 

They had been asking about the horses and 
ponies in Mexico, and he continues in the same 
letter : — 

The Mexicans raise a large quantity of ponies, 
donkeys, and mules, and most of their com, etc., is 



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50 ROBERT E. LEE 

carried on the backs of these animals. These little 
donkeys will carry two hundred pounds on their 
backs, and the mules will carry three hundred on long 
journeys over the mountains. The ponies are used 
for riding and cost from ten to fifty dollars, accord- 
ing to their size and quality. I have three horses. 
Creole is my pet; she is a golden dun, actiye as a deer, 
and carries me over all the ditches and gullies that I 
have met with; nor has she ever yet hesitated at any- 
thing I have put her at; she is full blooded and con- 
sidered the prettiest thing in the army; though young, 
she has so far stood the campaign as well as any horses 
of the division. 

Lee's duty as an engineer was to learn the 
country thoroughly so that the movements of the 
army might be directed to the best advantage ; to 
choose positions for troops and artillery ; to gain 
accurate information ; and to draft maps, cut roads, 
and build bridges. In all this he showed great 
ability, but it was in searching out the land that 
he won special notice. 

General Wool was told at one time that Santa 
Anna, with a much more powerful army than his, 
had crossed the mountains and was only twenty 
miles away. It was imperative that the truth be- 
hind this rumor should be learned, and Lee vol- 
unteered for the task. It was arranged that he 
should have with him a troop of cavalry and a 
guide, but in some way orders were confused, and 
he missed them. Having no one with him except 
a Mexican boy, who could be trusted only because 



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IN MEXICO 51 

Lee had told him that he would shoot him if he 
played false, he set out. Employing a boy as a 
guide Lee went on, not daring to lose any time. 
After a ride of many miles he came upon a road 
heavily worn with tracks of mules and wagons. 
He believed that he had found the traces of a 
detachment of troops, and he determined to go 
on until he reached the outposts of the enemy. 
Finally, he came within sight of camp-fires, and 
his guide at once began to beg that they go back, 
urging that this was Santa Anna's army and that 
death for both was certain if they went on and 
were captured. Lee then left his guide and rode 
forward alone. He was challenged by no pick- 
ets and came at last to where he could see what 
seemed to be white tents, and could hear loud 
talking. Hoping to learn the size of the force, he 
rode forward still further and discovered that the 
supposed white tents were sheep in tremendous 
numbers, and the army nothing but drovers with 
a large train of wagons going to market with 
herds of sheep, cattle, and mules. From the dro- 
vers he learned that Santa Anna had not crossed 
the mountains, and he at once returned to camp 
with the good news. Everybody rejoiced to see 
him safe, "but," said Lee, "the most delighted 
man to see me was the old Mexican, the father of 
my guide, with whom I had last been seen by any 
of our people and whom General Wool had ar- 



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52 ROBERT E. LEE 

rested and proposed to hang if I was not forth- 
coming." Although Lee had akeady ridden forty 
miles that night, he rested only three hours before 
he headed a troop of cavalry on a scouting expe- 
dition far beyond the point where he had come 
upon the sheep. On this search Lee learned the 
exact position of the enemy. 

About this time a change was made in the gen- 
eral plan of campaign which vitally affected Lee. 
It was decided that the quickest way to end the 
war was to strike directiy at the City of Mexico 
— " to conquer a peace," as General Scott put it. 
General Scott, at this time the commanding gen- 
eral of the United States Army, had been impa- 
tiently waiting in Washington for a chance for 
active service, but had been kept out for political 
reasons by the President. He was now placed in 
command of a new force raised for the expedition. 
Scott was a native of Virginia, and had been a 
lawyer before he went into the army. He had won 
high reputation as a soldier in the War of 1812, 
and, at the time of the war with Mexico, had 
reached the age of sixty years. He was rather 
vain and self-important, but he was a fine soldier 
and a great and good man. 

Scott's high position enabled him to have his 
wishes carried out and he determined to surround 
himself with able officers, particularly from the 
Corps of Engineers. He soon drew from that 



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IN MEXICO 53 

branch Colonel J. G. Totten, J. L. Smith, R. E. 
Lee, P. G. T. Beauregard, G. B. McClellan, J. G. 
Foster, Z. B. Tower, I. I. Stevens, and G. W. 
Smith. Almost at once he placed Lee on his per- 
sonal staff. In this way the two men grew to be 
close friends and Scott came to have great confi- 
dence in Lee and a great admiration for him both 
as a man and as a soldier. 

While on his way to Vera Cruz, from which 
place the expedition was expected to start, Lee 
wrote his sons the following letter : — 

Ship Massachusetts, off Lobos, 
February 27, 1847. 

My dear Boys: — 

I received your letters with the greatest pleasure, 
and, as I always like to talk to you both together, I 
will not separate you in my letters, but write one to 
you both. I was much gratified to hear of your prog- 
ress at school, and hope that you will continue to 
advance and that I shall have the happiness of find- 
ing you much improved in all your studies on my re- 
turn. I shall not feel my long separation from you if 
I find that my absence has been of no injury to you, 
and that you have both grown in goodness and knowl- 
edge, as well as stature. But oh, how much will I 
suffer on my return if the reverse has occurred ! You 
enter into all my thoughts, in all my prayers; and on 
you, in part, will depend whether I shall be happy or 
miserable, as you know how much I love you. You 
must do all in your power to save me pain. 

You will learn, by my letter to your grandmother, 
that I have been to Tampico. I saw many things to 
remind me of you, though that was not necessary to 



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54 ROBERT E. LEE 

make me wish that you were with me. The river was 
so calm and beautiful, and the boys were playing 
about in boats, and swimming their ponies. Then 
there were troops of donkeys carrying water through 
the streets. They had a kind of saddle, something 
like a cart saddle, though larger, that carried two ten- 
gallon kegs on each side, which was a load for a don- 
key. They had no bridles on, but would come along 
in strings to the river, and as soon as their kegs were 
filled, start off again. They were fatter and slicker 
than any donkeys I had ever seen before, and seemed 
to be better cared for. I saw a great many ponies too. 
They were much larger than those in the upper 
country, but did not seem so enduring. I got one to 
ride around the fortifications. He had a Mexican 
bit and saddle on, and paced delightfully, but every 
time my sword struck him on the flanks, would 
jump and try to run off. Several of them had been 
broken to harness by the Americans and I saw some 
teams in wagons, driven four in hand, well matched 
and trotting well. We had a grand parade on General 
Scott's arrival. The troops were all drawn up on the 
bank of the river, and fired a salute as he passed 
them. He landed at the market, where lines of senti- 
nels were placed to keep off the crowd. In front of the 
landing the artillery was drawn up, which received 
him in the center of the column and escorted him 
through the streets to his lodgings. They had pro- 
vided a handsome gray horse, richly caparisoned, for 
him to ride, but he preferred to walk with his staff 
around him, and a dragoon led the horse behind us. 
The windows along the streets we passed were crowded 
with people, and the boys and girls were in great 
glee — the Governor's Island band playing all the 
time. 
There were six thousand soldiers in Tampico. Mr. 



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IN MEXICO 55 

Barry was tbe adjutant oi the escort. I think you 
would have enjoyed with me the oranges and sweet 
potatoes. MajcMT Smith became so fond of the choco- 
late that I coidd hardly get him away from the house. 
Weremained there only one day. I haveanice state- 
room on board this ship. Joe Johnston and myself 
occupy it, but my poor Joe is so sick all the time, I 
can do nothing with him. I left "Jem" to come on 
with the horses, as I was afraid they would not be 
properly cared for. Vessels were expressly fitted up 
for the horses, and parties of dragoons detailed to 
take care of them. I had hoped they would reach 
here by this time, as I wanted to see how they were 
fixed. I took every precaution for their comfort, 
provided them with bran, oats, etc., and had slings 
made to pass imder them and be attached to the cov- 
erings above, so that, if in a heavy sea, they should 
slide or be thrown off their feet, they could not fall, I 
had to sell my good old horse ** Jim" as I could not 
find room for him, or, rather, I did not want to crowd 
the others. I know I shall want him when I land. 
Creole was the admiration of every one at Brazos, 
and they hardly believed she had carried me so far, 
and looked so well. Jem says there is nothing like her 
in all the country, and I believe he likes her better 
than ** Tom " or ** Jerry." The sorrel mare did not ap- 
pear to be so well after I got to the Brazos. I had to 
put one of the men on her whose horse had given out, 
and the saddle hurt her back. She had gotten well, 
however, before I left, and I told Jem to ride her 
every day. I hope they may both reach the shore 
again in safety, but I fear they will have a hard time. 
They will first have to be put aboard a steamboat 
and carried to the ship that lies about two miles out 
at sea, then hoisted in, and how we shall get them 
ashore again I do not know. Probably throw them 



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56 ROBERT E. LEE 

overboard and let them swim there. I do not think 
we shall remain here more than one day longer. Gen- 
eral Worth's and General Twiggs's divisions have 
arrived, which include the regulars, and I suppose 
the volunteers will be coming on every day. We shall 
probably go on the first down the coast, select a place 
for debarkation, and make all the arrangements 
preparatory to the arrival of the troops. I shall have 
plenty to do there, and am anxious for the time to 
come, and hope all may be successful. Tell Rob he 
must think of me very often, be a good boy, and al- 
ways love papa. Take care of "Spec" and the colts. 
Mr. Sedgwick and all the officers send their love to you. 
The ship rolls so I can scarcely write. You must 
write to me very often. I am always very glad to hear 
from you. Be sure that I think of you, and that you 
have the prayers of 

Your affectionate father, 
R. E. Lee. 

In the early winter of 1847 the Scott expedi- 
tion laid siege to Vera Cruz, which had defenses 
supposed to be almost impossible to take. Lee, 
as an engineer, was kept very busy here. He had 
the chief direction of the placing of batteries, and 
for two weeks he worked both day and night. 
His work was so well done that General Scott 
said in his report that Lee had greatly distin- 
guished himself. Here Lee came near to death 
from one of his own men, a panic-stricken sentry 
firing at him so close that his coat was burned, 
while the ball passed between his arm and his 
body. An amusing incident occurred in connec- 



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IN MEXICO 57 

tion with Lee's work. He received orders to throw 
up earthworks to protect a battery to be manned 
by the sailors from a man-of-war. The sailors did 
not like the digging and the captain of the frigate 
protested, saying that the only use his men would 
have for earthworks would be to fight from the 
top of them. Captain Lee was deaf to all such 
protests and gave his attention to pushing the 
work rapidly forward. It was barely finished when 
the Mexicans opened fire and all the sailors gladly 
took refuge behind the despised " bank of dirt." 
Not long afterward the gallant sea captain apol- 
ogized for his comments, and then said, "The 
fact is, Captain, I don't like land fighting anyway. 
It ain't clean." 

At Vera Cruz Lee found his brother, Lieutenant 
Sydney Smith Lee, of the Navy. In a letter from 
there, Lee said, after describing a certain bat- 
tery : — 

The first day this battery opened, Smith served one 
of the guns. I had constructed the battery, and was 
there to direct its fire. No matter where I turned, my 
eyes reverted to him, and I stood by his gun when- 
ever I was not wanted elsewhere. Oh ! I felt awfully, 
and at a loss what I should have done had he been 
cut down before me. I thank God that he was saved. 
He preserved his usual cheerfulness and I could see 
his white teeth through all the smoke and din of the 
fire. I had placed three 32 and three 68 pound guns 
in position. . . . Their fire was terrific, and the shells 
thrown from our battery were constant and regular 



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58 ROBERT E. LEE 

discharges, so beautiful in their flight and so de- 
structive in their fall. It was awful! My heart bled 
for the inhabitants. The soldiers I did not care so 
much for, but it was terrible to think of the women 
and children. 

Vera Cruz was at last taken, and Scott moved 
towards the interior, but at Cerro Gordo, Santa 
Anna confronted him with a large army, holding 
a position of great strength. General Scott's own 
account tells best what followed. Said he: — 

Reconnoissances were pushed in search of some 
practicable route other than the winding zigzag road 
among the spurs of the mountains, with heavy bat- 
teries at every turn. The reconnoissances were con- 
ducted with vigor under Captain Lee at the head of a 
body of pioneers, and at the end of the third day a 
passable way for light batteries was accomplished 
without alarming the enemy, giving the possibility 
of turning the extreme left of his line of defense and 
capturing his whole army, except the reserve, that 
lay a mile or two higher up the road. Santa Anna 
said that he had not believed a goat could have ap- 
proached him in that direction. Hence the surprise 
and the results were the greater. 

As a result the Mexican left was turned and the 
Mexican army defeated. Again Scott reported : — 

I am compelled to make special mention of Captain 
R. E. Lee, Engineer. This officer greatly distinguished 
himself at the siege of Vera Cruz; was indefatigable 
during these operations of reconnoissances, as daring 
as laborious, and of the utmost value. Nor was he 



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IN MEXICO 59 

less conspicuous in planting batteries and conducting 
columns from stations under the heavy fire of the 
enemy. 

These reconnoissances, or scouting expeditions, 
were very dangerous. Once when Lee had gone 
too far on one of them, he had to hide under a 
fallen tree near a spring to which the Mexicans 
came for water. He could hear the hostile soldiers 
talking and got very anxious to escape, but he 
was obliged to lie there until the coming of night 
made his escape possible. Several times parties 
crossed the very log under which he lay. Lee 
wrote his son Custis about the battle of Cerro 
Gordo and said : — 

I thought of you, my deac Custis, on the i8th in 
the battle, and wondered, when the musket balls and 
grape were whistling over my head in a perfect shower, 
where I could put you if with me to be safe. I was 
truly thankful you were at- school, I hope learning to 
be good and wise. You have no idea what a horrible 
sight a battlefield is. 

The army, marching on, reached Contreras 
only to find it so strongly defended that the reg- 
ular road could not be passed over. It ran be- 
tween a deep swamp and an apparently impas- 
sable lava bed, but Lee found a mule trail over 
the Pedregal, as the lava field was called, and 
this he opened up. He then led over it the com- 
mands of Generals Pillow and Worth, who cap- 



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6o ROBERT E. LEE 

tured the village of Contreras. It proved necessary 
for them to push on at once and engage the en- 
emy, and Lee volunteered to return and tell Scott 
of the plan so that he could assist Alone, in the 
night, in the midst of a terrible tropical storm, 
Lee made his way across the Pedregal, which was 
infested with roving Mexican bands, back to Scott, 
and then returned to take part in the morning's 
assault. Scott, who had already sent seven officers 
in turn to cross the Pedregal and had seen them 
all return unsuccessful, declared Lee's trip "the 
greatest feat of physical and moral courage, per- 
formed by any individual, to my knowledge, 
pending the campaign." 

In the battle of Contreras, Lee guided the left 
wing of the army to the attack. In his report of 
this battle Scott commended his staff, and after 
Lee's name said, "as distinguished for felicitous 
execution as for science and daring." The army 
was again victorious at MoHno del Rey, and then 
followed a series of brilliant and daring recon- 
noissances by the engineers, chief of whom was 
Lee with Beauregard assisting him. The army 
then stormed the heights of Chapultepec and suc- 
cessfully carried them, thus opening the way to 
the City of Mexico. In this engagement Lee was 
wounded. Scott's report again mentioned him, 
saying, " Captain Lee, Engineer, so constantly 
distinguished, also bore important orders from 



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IN MEXICO 6i 

me until he fainted from a wound and the loss of 
two nights' sleep at the batteries." 
" Scott's reports make very clear his opinion of 
Lee, and later he said that his " success in Mex- 
ico was largely due to the skill, valor, and un- 
daunted energy of Robert E. Lee." He also said 
of him that he was the ** greatest military genius 
in America, the best soldier that he ever saw in the 
field, and that, if opportunity offered, he would 
show himself the foremost captain of his time." 
Scott's opinion was shared by others. Every com- 
mander with whom Lee served in Mexico spoke 
of him in the same strain. One of his biographers, 
speaking of his work in Mexico, says : — 

The high estimate of Lee's military abilities formed 
by all who associated with him in the Mexican War 
was not based upon mere partiality for the man be- 
cause of his winning personal qualities. His services 
at Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo, and Contreras especially, 
were marked by those striking qualities which won 
him so much celebrity in the War of Secession; 
namely, quick perception, fertility in expedients, 
sound judgment, energy, audacity, and perfect in- 
trepidity. 

As a result of his brilliant work, promotion fol- 
lowed. He was given the brevet rank of major 
for his work at Cerro Gordo, brevet lieutenant- 
colonel for that at Contreras, and brevet colonel 
for that at Chapultepec. When Lee' s father-in- 
law wrote him of the anxiety of his friends that 



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62 ROBERT E. LEE 

his bravery and his services should be suitably 
rewarded, Lee characteristically replied : — 

I hope my friends will give themselves no annoy- 
ance on my account, or any concern about the dis- 
tribution of favors. I know how those things are 
awarded at Washington, and how the President will 
be besieged by clamorous claimants. I do not wish 
to be numbered among them. Such as he can con- 
scientiously bestow, I shall gratefully receive, and 
have no doubt that those will exceed my deserts. 

He was sincerely modest about his part in the 
war and wrote to his brother : — 

As to myself, your brotherly feelings have made 
you estimate too highly my small services, and though 
praise from one I love so dearly is sweet, truth com- 
pels me to disclaim it. I did nothing more than what 
others in my place would have done much better. 
The great cause of our success was our leader. 

While the results of the war were being settled 
by diplomacy, Lee remained in Mexico until June, 
1848. He studied a great deal during this period, 
but he also spent many hours on horseback en- 
joying the beautiful scenery and the wonderful 
plants and flowers. His letters home were long and 
full of interesting details. When General Scott, 
for political reasons, was ordered before a court of 
inquiry, Lee was very indignant and wrote, " Gen- 
eral Scott, whose skill and service has crushed 
the enemy and conquered a peace, can now be 
dismissed and turned out as an old horse to die." 



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V 



IN MEXICO 63 

His home-coming was full of joy for Lee. He 
wrote his brother : — 

Here I am once again, dear Smith, perfectly sur- 
rounded by Mary and her precious children, who seem 
to devote themselves to staring at the furrows in my 
face and the white hairs in my head. It is not surpris- 
ing that I am hardly recognizable to some of the 
young ones around me and perfectly unknown to 
the youngest. ... I find them, too, much grown and 
all well, and I have much cause for thankfulness, and 
gratitude to that good God who has once more 
united us. 

He brought home with him the horse he had 
ridden in Mexico, Grace Darling, and for her sake 
took the long trip up the Mississippi instead of 
coming directly home. She had been shot seven 
timfes, which showed in what sort of places her 
master had been in the habit of going, and he, 
naturally, was devoted to her. He also had a 
small pony, named Santa Anna, sent home by 
sea for his son Robert, which soon became a fam- 
ily favorite. 

The Mexican War was in many respects a small 
affair, a struggle with only a narrow scope. Its 
great importance in American history lies in the 
fact that in it were developed many of the men who 
were to be the leaders, on one side or the other, 
in the great struggle for the Union then near at 
hand. Of the subordinate officers in the Mexican 
War, Lee gained the greatest distinction, but 



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64 ROBERT E. LEE 

there were many others not far behind him. Of 
these Scott ranked George B. McCIellan next to 
Lee. In Scott's army were Ulysses S. Grant, 
twenty-five y^rs old, a lieutenant of infantry, who 
for gallantry, won by brevet the rank of captain ; 
he had been with Taylor at Palo Alto, Resaca de 
la Palma, and Monterey, and joined Scott at Vera 
Cruz; George B. McCIellan, twenty-one years of 
age, an engineer, for bravery was breveted first 
lieutenant and later captain ; George H. Thomas, 
a first lieutenant of artillery, was breveted three 
times for gallantry; John Sedgwick and John 
G. Foster were twice breveted, and Winfield Scott 
Hancock, a second lieutenant of infantry, was also 
breveted; Irvin McDowell, later to be the first 
commander of the Army of the Potomac, was in 
Mexico as an aide-de-camp ; Joseph Hooker was 
also a staff officer and Ambrose E. Bumside 
joined the army with a party of recruits while it 
was on the march to the interior. These were the 
most important of the number who later were 
distinguished as Federal officers. 

Many of the men who were to be Confederate 
leaders also took part in the war. Albert Sidney 
Johnston was there with a Texas regiment ; Joseph 
E. Johnston, who was then a lieutenant-colonel, 
was twice wounded and breveted three times; 
Braxton Bragg, a captain of artillery, was the first 
to plant the colors on the ramparts of Chapul- 



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IN MEXICO 65 

tepee ; Thomas J. Jackson, a lieutenant of artillery, 
won high praise from his superiors ; John B. Mac- 
gruder was wounded once and breveted twice 
while in Mexico ; Richard S. Ewell and P. G. T. 
Beauregard were twice breveted, and Edward 
Kirby Smith three times. Others there were A. P. 
Hill, D. H. Hill, Jubal A. Early, Samuel Cooper, 
Simon B. Buckner, and many more. With Taylor 
were James Longstreet, W. J. Hardee, Richard 
Taylor, and a host of others. Jefferson Davis, 
who, as President of the Confederacy, was to be- 
come commander-in-chief of all its armies, was 
there in command of a Mississippi regiment. 

All these young fellows together braved hard- 
ship and toil and danger. They suffered and 
fought side by side, under the same flag and for 
one cause. Little did they dream that fifteen years 
later they would be ranged, some on one side 
and some on the other, in one of the greatest 
wars of history, in which, be it said to their credit, 
they never lost their respect nor, in many cases, 
their affection, for each other. 



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CHAPTER VI 

YEARS OF PEACE 
1848-1855 

After the hard service of the Mexican cam- 
paign, Lee found the greatest enjoyment in the 
peaceful years at home which followed it He 
was in the prime of life and still kept his youth- 
ful activity and beauty. He was five feet, eleven 
inches in height, although he always seemed 
taller, and weighed one hundred and seventy- 
five pounds. His hair, which curled slightly at 
the ends, had always been jet black, but was now 
very slightly touched with gray. His clear, direct 
eyes were hazel; his face was clean-shaven ex- 
cept for a closely clipped mustache. He carried 
himself superbly and well deserved the reputa- 
tion of being the handsomest man in the army. 
Fifteen years later, Stonewall Jackson said Lee's 
was "the most perfect animal form" he had ever 
seen. He was rarely, if ever, sick, and was full 
of gayety and high spirits, especially when with 
his children. He was never tired of romping and 
joking with them, and, even in the early morn- 
ing, he had the two younger children climb into 
his bed for a story-telling hour. During these 



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YEARS OF PEACE, 1848-1855 67 

years he formed a close friendship with his chil- 
dren which lasted through his life. He was vitally 
interested in their education and insisted that he 
would not be satisfied with anything less than 
the highest standing. He was always ready to 
help with a difficult lesson in mathematics or 
Latin, not by finding the answer or reading the 
lesson, but by guiding the children to win victory 
for themselves. 

He was no less interested in their physical edu- 
cation. He made his sons stand erect and he saw 
that they learned to ride, shoot, swim, coast, and 
skate. His son Robert tells how he himself was 
encouraged by his father to take care of his own 
room, which was inspected just as the rooms of 
the West Point cadets were. His father gave him 
a gun and offered him a reward for every crow 
scalp he would bring in, advancing to him enough 
money to get powder and shot. The boy expected 
to make a fortune, and this hope was increased 
when he killed two crows very soon after he got 
the gun. He showed them to his father with 
much pride and told him that he would soon be 
able to repay the loan. His father's eyes twinkled, 
and he smiled, but he said nothing. The son tried, 
as he says, " hard and long," but never killed an- 
other crow. A letter from Lee to his son Custis, 
or " Boo" as he called him, shows his feeling for 
his children. 



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68 ROBERT E. LEE 

Baltimorb, May 4, 1851. 

My dearest Son: — 

Your letter of the 27th ultimo, which I duly re- 
ceived, has given me more pleasure than any that I 
now recollect having ever received. It has assured me 
of the confidence you feel in my love and affection, 
and with what frankness and candor you open to me 
all your thoughts. 

So long as I meet with such return from my chil- 
dren, and see them strive to respond to my wishes, 
and exertions, for their good and happiness, I can 
meet with calmness and unconcern all else the world 
may have in store for me. I cannot express my pleas- 
ure at hearing you declare your determination to 
shake off the listless fit that has seized upon you, and 
arouse all your faculties into activity and exertion. 
The determination is alone wanting to accomplish the 
wish. At times the temptation to relax will be hard 
upon you, but will grow feebler and more feeble by 
constant resistance. The full play of your young and 
growing powers, the daily exercise of all your ener- 
gies, the consciousness of acquiring knowledge, and 
the pleasure of knowing your efforts to do your duty, 
will bring you a delight and gratification far surpass- 
ing all that idleness and selfishness can give. Try it 
fairly and take your own experience. I know it will 
confirm you in your present resolve to "try and do 
your best," and if that does not recompense you for 
your devotion and labor, you will find it in the happi- 
ness which it brings to father and mother, brothers 
and sisters, and all your friends. I do not think you 
lack either energy or ambition. Hitherto you have 
not felt the incentive to call them forth. "Content 
to do well," you have not tried "to do better." The 
latter will as assuredly follow the eflfort as the former. 



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YEARS OF PEACE, 1848-1855 69 

Every man has ambition. The young soldier espe- 
cially feels it. Honor and fame are all that he aspires 
to. But he cannot reach either by volition alone, and 
he sometimes shrinks from the trials necessary to ac- 
complish them. Let this never be your case. Keep 
them constantly before you and firmly pursue them. 
They will at last be won. I am very much pleased 
at the interest taken by the cadets in your success. 
Surely it requires on your part a corresponding re- 
turn. They desire to see you strive, at least, to gratify 
their wishes. Prove yourself worthy of their affection. 
Hold yourself above every mean action. Be strictly 
honorable in every act, and be not ashamed to do 
right. Acknowledge right to be your aim and strive 
to reach it. I feel, too, so much obliged to you for 
the candid avowal of your feelings. Between us two 
let there be no concealment. I may give you advice 
and encouragement and you will give me pleasure. 

His [Rooney's] anxiety is still to go to West Point, 
and thinks there is no life like that of a dragoon. He 
thinks he might get through the Academy, though he 
would not stand as well as Boo. I tell him he would 
get two hundred demerits the first year, and that 
there would be an end of all his military aspirations. 

Devotedly, your father, 

R. E. Lee. 

Lee was fond of reading and was familiar with 
Scott's poems and other works, but his life was 
so filled with action and responsibility that he 
had little time to read and so could hardly be 
called a reading man. The family was much 
at Arlington and found much brightness and 



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TO ROBiERT E. LEE 

happiness in the life there. In the following let- 
ter, Lee describes Christmas there, a typical 
Christmas of the old South : — 

Arlington, 2Sth December, 1851. 

We came on last Wednesday morning. It was a 
bitter cold day, and we were kept waiting an hour in 
the depot at Baltimore for the cars, which were de- 
tained by the snow and frost on the rails. We found 
your grandfather at the Washington depot, Daniel 
and the old carriage and horses, and young Daniel on 
the colt Mildred. Your mother, grandfather, Mary 
Eliza, the little people, and the baggage, I thought 
load enough for the carriage, so Rooney and I took 
our feet in our hands and walked over. We looked for 
the Anne Case, in which to get a lift to Roop's Hill, 
but congratulated ourselves afterwards that we 
missed her, for she only overtook us after we had 
passed Jackson City, and was scarcely out of sight 
when we turned up the Washington turnpike. The 
snow impeded the carriage as well as us, and we 
reached here shortly after it. The children were de- 
lighted at getting back, and passed the evening in de- 
vising pleasure for the morrow. They were in upon 
us before day on Christmas morning, to overhaul their 
stockings. Mildred thinks she drew a prize in the 
shape of a beautiful new doll; Angelina's infirmities 
were so great that she was left in Baltimore and this 
new treasure was entirely unexpected. The cakes, 
candies, books, etc. were overlooked in the caresses 
she bestowed upon her, and she was scarcely out of 
her arms all day. Rooney got among his gifts a nice 
pair of boots, which he particularly wanted, and the 
girls, I hope, were equally well pleased with their 
presents, books, and trinkets. 



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YEARS OF PEACE, 1848-1855 71 

Your mother, Mary, Rooney, and I went to church, 
and Rooney and the twins skated back on the canal 
(Rooney having taken his skates along for the pur- 
pose), and we filled his place in the carriage with Miss 
Sarah Stuart, one of M's comrades. Minny Lloyd 
was detained to assist her mother at dinner, but 
your Aunt Maria brought her and Miss Lucretia 
Fitzhugh out the next day, and Wallace Stiles and 
his brother arriving at the same time, we had quite a 
tableful. 

The young people have been quite assiduous in 
their attentions to each other, as their amusements 
have been necessarily indoors; but the beaux have 
successfully maintained their reserve so far, notwith- 
standing the captivating advances of the belles. The 
first day they tried skating, but the ice was soft and 
rough, and it was abandoned in despair. They have 
not moved out of the house since. To-day the twins 
were obliged to leave us, and when the carriage came 
to the door, Minny Lloyd and Sarah Stuart reluctantly 
confessed that their mamas ordered them to return 
in the first carriage. We have only, therefore, Wal- 
lace and Edward Stiles, and Miss Lucretia Fitzhugh 
in addition to our family circle. 

I need not describe to you our amusements, you 
have witnessed them so often, nor the turkey, cold 
ham, plum-puddings, mince-pies, etc., at dinner. I 
hope you will enjoy them again, or some equally as 
good. 

The weather has been bitter cold. I do not recol- 
lect such weather (I can only judge by my feelings) 
since the winter of 1835. I have not been to Washing- 
ton yet, but will endeavor to get over to-morrow. I 
am writing this to mail then. The family have re- 
tired, but I know I should be charged with much love 
from every individual were they aware of my writing, 



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72 ROBERT E. LEE 

so I will give it without bidding. May you have 
many happy years, all bringing you an increase of 
virtue and wisdom, all witnessing your prosperity 
in this life, all bringing you nearer everlasting happi- 
ness hereafter. May God in His great mercy grant 
me this my constant prayer. 

I had received no letter from you when I left Balti- 
more, nor shall I get any till I return, which will be, 
if nothing happens, to-morrow a week, 5th January, 
1852. You will then be in the midst of your examina- 
tion. I shall be very anxious about you. Give me the 
earliest intelligence of your standing, and stand up 
before them boldly, manfully; do your best^ and I 
shall be satisfied. 

R. E. Lee. 

In spite of the close intimacy between Lee and 
his children, he maintained the strictest discipline. 
He expected to be obeyed and he was obeyed. 
His feelings and motives are well shown in the 
following letter to his wife : — 

Our dear little boy seems to have among his friends 
the reputation of being hard to manage — a distinc- 
tion not at all desirable, as it indicates self-will and 
obstinacy. Perhaps these are qualities which he 
really possesses, and he may have a better right to 
them than I am willing to acknowledge; but it is our 
duty, if possible, to counteract them, and assist him 
to bring them under his control. I have endeavored, 
in my intercourse with him to require nothing but 
what was, in my opinion, necessary or proper, and to 
explain to him temperately its propriety, and at a 
time when he could listen to my arguments and not 
at the moment of his being vexed and his little facul- 



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YEARS OF PEACE, 1848-1855 73 

ties warped by passion. I have also tried to show him 
that I was firm in my demands and constant in their 
enforcement and that he must comply with them, and 
I let him see that I look to their execution in order to 
relieve him as much as possible from the temptation 
to break them. 

He also required from his children persistent 
labor at their tasks, punctuality, and devotion to 
duty. "Duty, then," he said, "is the sublimest 
word in our language," and no man ever lived 
a life more in accord with a principle than Lee's 
was with this. In every relation, in every problem 
of life, the difficulty lay only in seeing where duty 
lay ; its performance when once seen was certain. 
This devotion to duty was the keynote of Lee's 
whole life. 

In 1849 Lee was sent with a number of other 
engineers to Florida to examine the coast de- 
fenses and to recommend locations for new ones. 
His next work was the construction of Fort Car- 
roll at Boiler's Point, eight miles below Baltimore. 
This constant choice of Lee for fortification work 
was the highest possible praise of his ability in 
his profession. Indeed, it was thought by those 
in authority in the army " that no officer of the 
Corps of Engineers had a quicker eye to grasp 
the military requisites of a situation and make 
the best possible provision for its defense." This 
work kept him in Baltimore for three years. It 



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74 ROBERT E. LEE 

was pleasant to be near his sister again, and he 
and his wife soon gained great popularity there, 
and both made many dose friends. It was at this 
time that Lee was selected by the Cuban Junta 
of New York to take command of a revolutionary 
military force in an effort to secure Cuban inde- 
pendence from Spain. This offer carried with it 
both a high salary and high rank, and Lee gave 
it careful consideration. He discussed it with his 
friend, Jefferson Davis, then Senator from Missis- 
sippi, but finally came to the conclusion that hav- 
ing been educated for the service of the United 
States, he had no right to decide to serve in the 
army of another power while he still held his com- 
mission. And, as always, having found the course 
he believed to be right, he followed it, and de- 
clined the offer. 

In 1852 he was appointed superintendent of 
the United States Military Academy. His admin- 
istration lasted three years and was notably suc- 
cessful. He had not desired the post and had 
protested against his assignment to it, but after 
he went there he devoted every ability and every 
energy to his task. His aim was to be in personal 
touch with all the cadets, and to this end each 
Saturday night found a number with him for sup- 
per. Their shyness, evident at first, soon wore off 
under the influence of Lee's charm of manner 
and his heartfelt cordiality. Among the cadets at 



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YEARS OF PEACE, 1848-1855 75 

this time were his son Custis, who led the class of 
1854, and his nephew, Fitzhugh Lee. 

General Oliver O. Howard tells of Lee's habit 
at this time of spending as much time as he coi^ld 
with the cadets who were on the sick-list, and 
expresses the admiration he formed for Lee whom 
he came to know while he was himself a cadet 
and in the hospital. General John B. Schofield 
says that Lee was the personification of dignity, 
justice, and kindness, and was respected and ad- 
mired as the ideal of a commanding officer. 

In spite of the many pleasant things about his 
service at West Point, the responsibilities weighed 
heavily upon Lee, and he felt great relief as well 
as some regret when he was transferred. 

Some of the cadets at West Point under Lee 
who later became prominent were D. M. Gregg, 
Oliver O. Howard, J. B. McPherson, John M. 
Schofield, Thomas H. Ruger, George D. Ruggles, 
Philip H. Sheridan, J. W. Sill, T. L. Vinton, and 

A. S. Webb, all generals in the Federal Army ; 
and Robert H. Anderson, E. P. Alexander, John 

B. Hood, Fitzhugh Lee, G. W. C. Lee, Stephen 
D. Lee, Thomas M. Jones, John R. Chambliss, 
L. L. Lomax, William D. Pender, and J. E. B. Stu- 
art, generals in the Confederate Army. Among the 
instructors at this time were Robert S. Gamett, 
commandant of cadets, and Edward Kirby Smith, 
both of whom became Confederate generals. 



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CHAPTER VII 

THE CAVALRY OFFICER 

In 1854, after a bitter fight against it in Con- 
gress, the regular army was increased hty the 
addition of two regiments of cavalry, the first in 
the service, although there had already been 
troops of dragoons. These regiments were organ- 
ized by Jefferson Davis, then Secretary of War 
under President Pierce. Albert Sidney Johnston 
was appointed colonel of the Second Cavalry and 
Lee, lieutenant-colonel. It was with deep regret 
that Lee left the Corps of Engineers. He had 
been in that branch of the service for twenty-six 
years and stood among the first in the profession. 
The change meant not only giving up the work 
he loved, but also going into work of a very dif- 
ferent character. However, next to the engineers, 
Lee liked the cavalry. He was devoted to horses, 
and underneath his calm exterior lay a fiery na- 
ture to which this branch of the service appealed 
more than he himself knew. Of course he had 
to learn much of cavalry tactics, to begin study 
anew, as it were, but Lee believed in accepting 
promotion when it came, and, in view of the 
usual slowness with which officers in the army 



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THE CAVALRY OFFICER 77 

rose in rank, the leap from captain to lieutenant- 
colonel was very gratifying. 

The officers of these two regiments formed a 
remarkable body of men. Among those in the 
Second Cavalry were Albert Sidney Johnston, 
Lee, Thomas, Hardee, Van Dorn, Hood, Fitz- 
hugh Lee, Palmer, Emory, Oakes, Stoneman, 
Garrard, Cosby, Lomax, Major, Byres, Evans, 
Kirby Smith, O'Hara, Bradfute, Travis, Brack- 
ett. Whiting, and Johnson, all generals in the 
Federal or Confederate armies. In the First Reg- 
iment were Sumner, Sedgwick, Stanley, Carr, and 
Joseph E. Johnston. 

In the absence of Colonel Johnston, Lee took 
command of the regiment at Louisville, Kentucky, 
in April, 1855. A little later the regiment was re- 
moved to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, for re- 
cruiting and organization. In this work Lee was' 
very valuable on account of his wonderful power 
of discipline and organization, and he rendered 
great service. In the fall the regiment, numbering 
about seven hundred and fifty men, with eight 
hundred horses, started on its long march to 
Texas. Lee did not go with it because at the time 
he was serving as a member of a court martial, 
or military court, but he joined it in Texas in 
March, 1856. 

The troops were sent to Texas to protect the 
settlers there from the Indians. The State was 



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78 ROBERT E. LEE 

so large and so sparsely settled that the regi- 
ment had to be divided into small detachments 
so that it might spread over a large territory. 
Lee was stationed at Camp Cooper, on the Bra- 
zos River, in command of two squadrons, charged 
with the duty of watching the Comanche Indians, 
who were very hostile and dangerous. In a let- 
ter home Lee described his first interview with 
the chief, and expressed the opinion that the 
entire race was very uninteresting. In June Lee 
was sent with several companies on an expedi- 
tion against some scattered bands of Indians, but 
failed to locate them. This small body of troops 
was the largest Lee had ever had under him in 
actual service, and he commanded no other as 
large before the outbreak of the war between the 
States. In a letter written to his wife while he 
was on this expedition, Lee said : — 

I hope your father continued well and enjoyed his 
usual celebration of the Fourth of July; mine was 
spent, after a march of thirty miles on one of the 
branches of the Brazos, under my blanket, elevated 
on four sticks driven in the ground, as a sunshade. 
The sun was fiery hot, the atmosphere like the heat 
of a hot-air furnace, the water salt, still my feelings 
for my country were as ardent, my faith in her future 
as true, and my hopes for advancement as unabated 
as they would have been under better circumstances. 

Life on the frontier was not pleasant Roving 
bands of Indians constantly attacked the setders 



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THE CAVALRY OFFICER 79 

and tha-e was neva- any certainty of their safety. 
The posts, or forts, were lonely spots in wide un- 
peopled prairies, and there was little communica- 
tion with the outside world, as there were no 
railroads, no telegraph, and no telephone. The 
army quarters were poor and utterly without 
comfort The weather was changeable, and, even 
as late as April, freezing temperature was not 
unusual. Bread and beef were the chief articles 
of food, so there was usually little variety. There 
was much sickness, and the death of little chil- 
dren wrung Lee's heart. There were other dis- 
comforts not easily endured. Lee wrote his wife : 
" Every branch and leaf in this country nearly is 
armed with a point and some seem to poison the 
flesh. What a blessed thing the children are not 
here. They would be ruined." 

The greater part of the military work here was 
done by the lower officers, but those of higher 
rank had the responsibility of deciding what was 
to be done and of seeing that it was all properly 
carried out. This was the part that fell to Lee, 
and he studied with the greatest care each prob- 
lem that arose. Stem as was his sense of duty, 
it was no barrier between him and those with 
whom he worked, and he always had their ad- 
miration, confidence, and warm affection. His 
letters home at this time still dwell upon his 
affection for animals, especially for cats. This 



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do ROBERT E. LEE 

last fondness he had come to have through his 
association with his father-in-law, for Mr. Custis 
was especially devoted to them. The following 
are characteristic examples of such allusions : — 

Tell your father Mrs. Colonel Waite has a fine large 
cat which she takes with her everjnvhere. He is her 
companion by day and sleeps on her bed at night. In 
public conveyances she leads him in the leash, and 
carries along a bottle of milk for his use. In her own 
carriage he sits in her lap. I have been trying to per- 
suade her to let me take him to Camp Cooper, but 
she says she can't part with him. He must go to 
Florida. I have seen some fine cats in Brownsville in 
the stores kept by Frenchmen, but no yellow ones ; the 
dark brindle is the favorite color on the frontier. In 
my walk the other evening I met a Mexican with a 
wild kitten in his arms enveloped in his blanket; it 
was a noble specimen of the Rio Grande wildcat, 
spotted all over with large spots like the leopard. I 
tried very hard to buy him, but he was already sold. 
I should prefer one of those at Camp Cooper. I fear, 
though, I should have to keep him chained, for they 
are very wild and savage. 

In a letter to his little girl, he said : — 

You must be a great personage now — sixty 
pounds ! I wish I had you here in all your ponderosity. 
I want to see you so much. Can you not pack up and 
come to the Comanche country? I would get you 
such a fine cat you would never look at "Tom" 
again. Did I tell you Jim Nooks, Mrs Waite's cat, 
was dead? He died of apoplexy. I foretold his end. 
Coffee and cream for breakfast, pound cake for lunch, 
turtle and oysters for dinner, buttered toast for tea, 



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THE CAVALRY OFFICER 8i 

and Mexican rats, taken raw for supper. He grew 
enormously and ended in a spasm. His beauty could 
not save him. I saw in San Antonio a cat dressed up 
for company. He had two holes bored in each ear, 
and in each were two bows of pink and blue ribbon. 
His round face, set in pink and blue, looked like a. 
big owl in a full blooming ivy bush. He was snow 
white. . . . His tail and feet were tipped with black, 
and his eyes of green were truly catlike. But I **saw 
cats as is cats " in Sarassa, while the stage was chang- 
ing mules. ... I left the wildcat on the Rio Grande; 
he was too savage; had grown as large as a small- 
sized dog, had to be caged, and would strike at any- 
thing that came within his reach. His cage had to be 
strong, and consequently heavy, so I could not bring 
it. He would pounce upon a kid as Tom would on 
a mouse, and would whistle like a tiger when you 
approached him. 

In still another, he writes : — 

Tell Mr. Custis I at last have a prospect of getting 
a puss. I have heard of a batch of kittens at a settler's 
town on the river, and have the promise of one. I 
have stipulated if not entirely yellow, it must at least 
have some yellow in the composition of the color of 
its coat; but how I shall place it — when I get it — 
and my mouse on amicable terms I do not know. 

Lee's second son, William H. F. (" Rooney "), 
was graduated from Harvard in 1857, ^^^ was at 
once, through the influence of General Scott, ap- 
pointed a second lieutenant in the army. When 
he joined his command, his father wrote him : — 

You are now in a position to acquire military credit, 



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82 ROBERT E. LEE 

and to prepare the road for promotion and future ad- 
vancement. Show your ability and worthiness of dis- 
tinction, and if an opportunity offers for advance- 
ment in the staff (I do not refer to the Quartermaster's 
or Commissary Departments), unless that is not your 
fancy, take it. It may lead to something favorable 
and you can always relinquish it when you choose. 

I hope you will be always distinguished for your 
avoidance of the "uinversal balm," whiskey , and 
every immorality. Nor need you fear to be ruled out 
of the society that indulges in it, for you will rather 
acquire their esteem and respect, as all venerate if 
they do not practice virtue. I am sorry to say that 
there is a great proclivity for spirit in the army in the 
field. It seems to be considered a substitute for every 
luxury. The great body may not carry it to extreme, 
but many pursue it to their ruin. ... I think it better 
to avoid it altogether, as you do, as its temperate use 
is so difhcult. I hope you will make many friends, 
as you will be thrown with many who deserve this 
feeling, but indiscriminate intimacies you will find 
annoying and entangling, and they can be avoided by 
politeness and civility. . . . When I think of your 
youth, impulsiveness, and many temptations, your 
distance from me, and the ease (and even innocence) 
with which you might commence an erroneous course, 
my heart quails within me, and my whole frame and 
being trembles at the possible result. May Almighty 
God have you in His holy keeping. To His Merciful 
Providence I commit you, and will rely upon Him, 
and Efficacy of the prayers that will be daily and 
hourly offered up by those who love you. 

Some months later, he wrote : — 

I cannot express the gratification I felt in meeting 
Colonel May in New York, at the encomiums he 



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THE CAVALRY OFFICER 83 

passed upon your scholarship, zeal, and devotion to 
your duty. But I was more pleased at the report of 
your conduct. That went nearer my heart, and was of 
infinite comfort to me. Hold on to your purity and 
virtue. They will proudly sustain you in all trials and 
difficulties, and cheer you in every calamity. I was 
sorry to see from your letter to your mother that you 
smoke occasionally. It is dangerous to meddle with. 
You have in store much better employment for your 
mouth. Reserve it, Roon, for its legitimate pleasure. 
Do not poison and corrupt it with stale vapors or 
tarnish your beard with their stench. 

In 1857 Colonel Johnston was ordered to Wash- 
ington, and Lee took command of the regiment. 
In the fall of that year Mr. Custis died, and Lee 
returned to Arlington to act as executor and to 
be with Mrs. Lee. Mr. Custis in his will had or- 
dered that all his slaves be set free at the end of 
five years, and in 1862 Lee carried out this pro- 
vision in the midst of the tremendous military 
campaign of that year. The few negroes he him- 
self owned he had already freed at the beginning 
of the war. 

Arlington was left to Mrs. Lee during her life, 
to go at her death to her son Custis. The latter 
at once deeded it to his father who replied to the 
graceful act in the following letter : — 

Arlington, lyih March, 1858. 
My dear Son: — 

I received to-night your letter of the i8th February, 
and also the deed relinquishing to me all your right 



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84 ROBERT E. LEE 

and title to Arlington, the mill, adjacent lands, per- 
sonal property, etc., bequeathed to you by your 
grandfather. I am deeply impressed by your filial 
feeling of love and consideration, as well as your tender 
solicitude for me, of which, however, I required no 
proof, and am equally touched by your generosity 
and disinterestedness. But from what I said in a 
previous letter, you will not be surprised at my re- 
peating that I cannot accept your offer. It is not 
from any unwillingness to accept from you a gift you 
may think proper to bestow, or to be indebted to*you 
for any benefit, great or small. But simply because it 
would not be right for me to do so. Your dear grand- 
father distributed his property as he thought best, and 
it is proper that it should remain as he bestowed it. 
It will not prevent me from improving it to the best 
of my ability, or of making it as comfortable a home 
for your mother, sisters, and yourself as I can. I only 
wish that I could do more than I have it in my power 
to do. I wish you had received my previous letter on 
this subject in time to have saved you the trouble of 
executing the deed you transmitted me. And indeed 
I also regret the expense you incurred, which I fear 
in that country is considerable, as I wish you to save 
all your money and invest it in some safe and lucra- 
tive way, that you may have the means to build up 
old Arlington, and make it all we would wish to see it. 
The necessity I daily have for money has, I fear, 
made me parsimonious. 

Lee remained on leave until the summer of 
1859 when he went again to Texas. He was 
there only a short time, returning almost imme- 
diately to Arlington, and was thus in easy reach 
of Washington in October, when a sudden and 



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THE CAVALRY OFFICER 85 

dangerous crisis caused the Secretary of War to 
call upon him for service. On October 16, 1859, 
John Brown, an abolitionist fanatic, who was 
then a fugitive from Kansas where he had par- 
ticipated in the Pottawattomie Massacre, led a 
small force of men into Harper's Ferry, Virginia. 
He had organized and armed them for the pur- 
pose of stirring up a slave uprising all over the 
South. He planned, as the slaves joined him, to 
arm them to fight for their freedom, and, in 
order to get a supply of arms, he took possession 
of the United States Arsenal in the town, which 
was well supplied but poorly guarded. News of 
this action reached Washington quickly, and 
Secretary Floyd, who knew that Lee was at Ar- 
lington, called on him to take command of a 
detachment of marines and go to Harper's 
Ferry. 

On reaching there, Lee found that Brown's 
plan to rouse the slaves had failed because of 
their refusal to rebel against their masters, but 
he had captured a number of the leading citizens 
of the town and was holding them as hostages 
while he was besieged in the engine-house of the 
Arsenal by the militia companies, which had 
arrived promptly. Lee at once surrounded the 
place and then sent his volunteer aide, Lieuten- 
ant J. E. B. Stuart, with a flag of truce, to de- 
mand the surrender of those within. Brown 



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86 ROBERT E. LEE 

declined and demanded that he be allowed to 
march his men out under arms and to take his 
prisoners with him. This demand was flatly 
refused, and Brown's reply to this was a threat 
to kill all the prisoners. Among these was Colonel 
Lewis Washington, who called out, " Never mind 
us, fire 1 " and at this Lee said, " The old Revolu- 
tionary blood does tell." Acting on a plan of 
Lee's, Stuart now raised his hand, and, at the 
signal, the marines rushed in, forced the door, 
and captured the building before the threat of 
killing the prisoners could be carried out. The 
entry in Lee's memorandum book is brief : — 

October 17, 1859. Received orders from the Secre- 
tary of War in person to repair to Harper's Ferry. 

Reached Harper's Ferry at n p.m Post^ 

'marines in the United States Armory. Waited until 
daylight, as a number of citizens were held as hostages, 
whose lives were threatened. Tuesday about sun- 
rise, with twelve marines, under Lieutenant Green, 
broke in the door of the engine-house, secured the in- 
surgents, and relieved the prisoners unhurt. All the 
insurgents killed or mortally wounded, but four, 
John Brown, Stevens, Coppie, and Shields. 

Lee then turned his prisoners over to the Vir- 
ginia authorities and returned to Arlington. 
Brown and his confederates, who had killed as 
many as five people, were soon afterwards tried, 
convicted, and executed. 

In February, i860, Lee again returned to Texas 



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THE CAVALRY OFFICER 87 

as commander of that military department. Here 
he spent many months trying to capture Cortinas, 
a famous and very wily Mexican bandit, who had 
crossed several times into the United States, burn- 
ing houses and driving off cattle. The situation 
is best described in this letter from Lee : — 

I have but little Rio Grande news. I have de- 
scended the left bank of the river from Eagle Pass, 
and could find no armed parties on either side of the 
river. Everything was quiet. Robberies will be com- 
mitted by Indians, Mexicans, and border men when it 
can be done with impimity and always has been done. 
The last authentic accounts I could get of Cortinas 
was that with his wife, children, and two men he was 
making his way in Mexican ox-carts into the interior 
and was 135 miles off. The Mexican authorities with 
whom I am holding a sharp correspondence said they 
had sent an express to the authorities to arrest him. 
General Garcia, commanding in Matamoras opposite 
to me, repeated the assurance. Still I do not expect it 
to be done and do not like to enter into a blind pursuit 
after a man so far into the interior, with broken- 
down horses. It is the want of food for them that 
stops me more than anything else. I cannot carry it 
and do not know that I could find it. The delay in 
finding it would defeat my object. If it was a prairie 
or grass country in which the horses could live, I 
would try him. 

During all this period Lee's promotion was 
much talked of. In a letter to his wife in 1856, he 
said of the talk : — 

Do not give yourself any anxiety about the appoint- 
ment of the brigadier. If it is on my account that 



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88 ROBERT E. LEE 

you feel any interest in it, I beg you will discard it 
from your thoughts. You will be sure to be disap- 
pointed ; nor is it right to indulge improper and useless 
hopes. It besides looks like presumption to expect it. 

In i860 John B. Floyd, the Secretary of War, 
appointed his cousin, Joseph E. Johnston, Quarter- 
master-General, with the rank of brigadier-gen- 
eral, promoting him over Albert Sidney Johnston, 
Lee, Sumner, and others who outranked him. 
Lee's comment is characteristic : — 

My friend Col. Joe Johnston is a good soldier and a 
worthy man and deserves all advancement, when it 
can be done without injustice to others. I think it 
must be evident to him that it was never the inten- 
tion of Congress to advance him to the position as- 
signed him by the Secretary. It was not so recog- 
nizee! before, and in proportion to his services he has 
been advanced beyond any one in the Army, and has 
thrown more discredit than ever on the system of 
favoritism and making brevets. 

A little later he wrote : — 

I rejoice in the good fortune that has come to my 
old friend Joe Johnston, for while I should not like, of 
course, that this should be taken as a precedent in the 
service, yet so far as he is concerned he is in every 
way worthy of the promotion, and I am glad that he 
has received it. 

In February, 1861, Lee received orders to "re- 
port to the commander-in-chief at Washington," 
and he reached there the first of March in time 
to see Lincoln inaugurated. Now for the last time 
he and his family were together at Arlington. 



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CHAPTER VIII 

STATE OR NATION? 

In the years which followed the Mexican War 
a violent dispute over slavery arose in the United 
States. Lee took no part in it, of course, and, so 
far as can be seen from his letters, he seems at 
first to have been entirely absorbed in his military 
duties and in his family and to have paid no at- 
tention to this discussion. So far as slavery was 
concerned, Lee, like many Southerners in the 
Border States, never doubted its evils. Opposi- 
tion to slavery was particularly common in Vir- 
ginia, and until the abolitionist crusade began, 
there was every indication that slavery would be 
abolished within a few years. As has been seen, 
Lee freed all the slaves he owned before the war 
began, and it is not unlikely that it was his influ- 
ence that caused Mr. Custis to provide for the 
freeing of his own. Lee's feeling toward slavery 
is best shown in a letter written in 1856 in which 
he said : '* In this enlightened age there are few, I 
believe, but will acknowledge that slavery as an 
institution is a moral and political evil. It is idle 
to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it is a 
greater evil to the white than to the colored race, 
and while my feelings are strongly interested in 



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90 ROBERT E. LEE 

behalf of the latter, my sympathies are stronger 
for the former." 

As time passed, the disagreement over slavery 
involved the question of preserving the Union, 
In the North the Republican Party, the first polit- 
ical party in our history confined to one section, 
was organized on the principle of opposition to 
the spread of slavery in the Territories, and it 
gained strength with great rapidity. Its pledge 
to prevent the extension of slavery caused great 
alarm in the South, where it was claimed that it 
was the right of any citizen to carry his property 
into the Territories which were the common prop- 
erty of all the States. This view had been upheld 
by the Supreme Court of the United States in the 
celebrated Dred Scott decision which the anti- 
slavery advocates denounced and declared not 
binding. To the argument of the South that slav- 
ery was protected by the Constitution, came the 
reply that there was a law higher than the Consti- 
tution, that is, the moral law. Because of the 
avowed purpose of the Republican Party and the 
opinions of its leaders, the South came to feel that 
its success would mean grave danger to the peace 
and safety of that section, since the Constitution 
might not be regarded as binding. The North 
was deeply opposed to slavery and determined 
to check its growth. Therefore, when Abraham 
Lincoln, the Republican candidate, was elected in 



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STATE OR NATION? • 91 

i860, South Carolina, the most extreme of the 
Southern States, followed in turn by Mississippi, 
Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas, 
the so-called "Cotton States," called conventions, 
which were supposed to exercise the sovereign 
power of the States, and through them withdrew 
from the Union. In February delegates from these 
States met in Montgomery, Alabama, and organ- 
ized the Confederate States of America. An effort 
was made to induce the Border States, Maryland, 
Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas, 
Missouri, and Tennessee, to follow, but in those 
States the majority of the people felt that Lin- 
coln's election alone was not sufficient cause for 
so grave a step as withdrawal from the Union. 

Lee, from Texas, watched these movements 
with sorrowful forebodings. By this time he was 
alive to the gravity of the situation. He wrote 
his son: — 

My little personal troubles sink into insignificance 
when I contemplate the condition of the country, and 
I feel as if I could easily lay down my life for its safety* 
But I also feel that it would bring but little good. 

A littie later he wrote : — 

If the Union is dissolved, which God in His mercy 
forbid, I shall return to you. 

Still a litde later, writing of this same possibil- 
ity, he said : — 
Major Nichols thinks the Union will be dissolved 



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92 ROBERT E. LEE 

in six weeks. ... If I thought so, . . . I would return 
to you now. I hope, however, the wisdom and patriot- 
ism of the country will devise some way of saving it, 
and that a kind Providence has not yet turned the 
current of His blessings from us. The three proposi- 
tions of the President ^ in his message are eminently 
just, are in accordance with the Constitution, and 
ought to be cheerfully assented to by all the States. 
But I do not think the Northern and Western States 
will agree to them. 

It is, however, my only hope for the preservation 
of the Union, and I will cling to it to the last. Feeling 
the aggressions of the North, resenting their denial of 
equal rights to our citizens to the common territory 
of the commonwealths, etc., I am not pleased with 
the course of the " Cotton States," as they term them- 
selves. In addition to their selfish, dictatorial bear- 
ing the threats they throw out against the ** Border 
States," as they call them, if they will not join them, 
argues little for the benefit or peace of Virginia should 
she determine to coalesce with them. While I wish to 
do what is right, I am unwilling to do what is wrong, 
either at the bidding of the South or the North. 

Lee, as has been seen, was ordered to Washing- 
ton and reached there in March. He remained 
there for six weeks, during which time he was 

^ President Buchanan in his annual message to Congress had 
recommended the passage of an explanatory amendment to the 
Constitution of the United States which would expressly rec- 
ognize the right of property in slaves where slavery already 
existed or might afterwards exist; which would declare it the 
duty of the United States to protect this right in the common 
Territories of the United States while they remained Terri- 
tories; and which, declaring the right of a master to the return 
of a fugitive slave, would make unconstitutional the so-called 
"Liberty Laws" passed by the Northern States to prevent the 
recovery of slaves who had made their escape. 



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STATE ON NATION? 93 

promoted to colonel of the First Cavalry. From 
Arlington he watched the progress of events with 
the deepest interest and anxiety. Virginia had 
called a convention, but it refused to secede, and 
waited for developments ; a great peace confer- 
ence, composed of delegates from the States, 
summoned by Virginia, met in Washington and 
attempted fruitiessly to settle the questions at 
issue ; Congress was entirely given over to efforts 
to bring about some compromise which would 
effect a peaceful settiement. In the North many 
were inclined to take no steps to prevent the 
secession of the Southern States. General Scott 
suggested to President Lincoln that he should 
say, " Wayward sisters, depart in peace," a view 
also held by Horace Greeley, the great editor of 
the "Tribune." But others opposed such a course, 
demanding the preservation of the Union, and 
Lincoln himself had no idea of admitting the 
right of a State to withdraw from the Union. He 
waited a month before taking any steps against 
the seceded States. Then he decided that Fort 
Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, which was still in 
the possession of Federal troops under the com- 
mand of Major Robert Anderson, should be re- 
inforced. It was recognized that the Confederacy 
would regard this as an act of war, and when the 
attempt was made the fort was at once bombarded 
and the garrison forced to surrender. 



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94 ROBERT E. LEE 

On April 15 President Lincoln issued a procla- 
mation, calling for seventy-five thousand volun- 
teers to force the seceded States to return to the 
Union. He demanded that the Border States fur- 
nish their part of this number, but the governors 
of all of them flatiy refused. Governor Letcher, 
of Virginia, replied, " You have chosen to inau- 
gurate civil war, and you can get no troops from 
Virginia for any such evil purpose." On April 17 
the Virginia Convention, which was still in ses- 
sion, passed an ordinance of secession. The same 
action was taken during the next five weeks by 
Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. The 
other slave States — Delaware, Maryland, Ken- 
tucky, and Missouri — did not secede. Delaware 
had no leaning towards secession and Kentucky 
chose to attempt to remain neutra|, but Missouri 
and Maryland were only prevented from seced- 
ing by force. 

Lee now faced an enormous and terrible prob- 
lem. His devotion to the Union amounted to a 
passion, and his resignation from the army would 
mean a wrench of his whole being. His own per- 
sonal interests could be served only by remain- 
ing in the service of the United States. Over 
against this was Virginia's call to him — one not 
lightly to be disregarded by a Lee. While he 
weighed the question, trying to see his duty 
clearly, General Scott was imploring him to re- 



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STATE OR NATION? 95 

main in the army. Scott had recommended him 
to President Lincoln, and the latter, on April 18, 
tiirough Francis P. Blair, offered him the chief 
command of the United States Army. Lee's re- 
ply was what might have been expected, " If I 
owned four millions of slaves, I would cheerfully 
sacrifice them to the preservation of the Union, 
but to lift my hand against my own State and 
people is impossible." 

Just after receiving the offer, Lee had an inter- 
view with Scott who still sought to change him 
from his purpose of resigning. Lee's reply was 
simple, " I am compelled to ; I cannot consult my 
own feelings in the matter." All that day and the 
next, Lee pondered the question. The night of 
April 19 he spent walking the floor or kneeling 
to pray for God's guidance in making his final 
decision. At last he saw where his duty lay. He 
came down stairs and said to his wife, "Well, 
Mary, the question is settled. Here is my letter 
of resignation and a letter I have written General 
Scott." These were the letters : — 

Arlington, Va., April 20, 1861. 
General: — 

Since my interview with you on the i8th inst., I 
have felt that I ought no longer to retain my com- 
mission in the Army. I therefore tender my resigna- 
tion, which I request you will recommend for accept- 
ance. It would have been presented at once but for 
the struggle it has cost me to separate myself from a 



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96 ROBERT E. LEE 

service to which I have devoted all the best years of 
my life and all the ability I possessed. 

During the whole of that time — more than a 
quarter of a century, — I have experienced nothing 
but kindness from my superiors, and the most cordial 
friendship from my comrades. To no one. General, 
have I been as much indebted as to yourself for uni- 
form kindness and consideration, and it has always 
been my ardent desire to meet your approbation. I 
shall carry to the grave the most grateful recollec- 
tions of your kind consideration, and your name and 
fame will always be dear to me. 

Save in defense of my native State, I never desire 
again to draw my sword. Be pleased to accept my 
most earnest wishes for the continuance of your hap- 
piness and prosperity, and believe me. 

Most truly yours, 

R. E. Lee. 

Arlington, Washington City P. O., April 20, 1861. 

Hon. Simon Cameron, 
Secretary of War. 
Sir: — I have the honor to tender the resignation 
of my commissson as colonel of the First Regiment of 
Cavalry. 

Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 
R. E. Lee. 

He also wrote a letter to his brother Smith, 
and one to his sister Mrs. Marshall, who had 
followed her husband in support of the Union. 
They follow : — 



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STATE OR NATION? 97 

Arlington, Va., April 20, 1861. 
My dear Brother Smith: — 

The question which was the subject of my earnest 
consultation with you on the i8th inst., has in my 
mind been decided. After the most anxious inquiry as 
to the correct course for me to pursue, I concluded to 
resign, and sent in my resignation this morning. I 
wished to wait until the ordinance of secession should 
be acted upon by the people of Virginia; but war 
seems to have commenced, and I am liable at any 
time to be ordered on duty which I could not conscien- 
tiously perform. To save me from such a position, 
and to prevent the necessity of resigning under orders, 
I had to act at once, and before I could see you again 
on the subject, as I had wished. I am now a private 
citizen, and have no other ambition than to remain at 
home. Save in defense of my native State, I have no 
desire ever again to draw my sword. I send my warm- 
est love. 

Your affectionate brother, 

R. E. Lee. 

My dear Sister: — 

I am grieved at my inability to see you. I have 
been waiting for a more "convenient season," which 
has brought to many before me deep and lasting re- 
gret. We are now in a state of war which will yield to 
nothing. The whole South is in a state of revolution, 
into which Virginia, after a long struggle, has been 
drawn; and though I recognize no necessity for this 
state of things, and would have forborne and pleaded 
to the end for redress of grievances, real or supposed, 
yet in my own person I had to meet the question 
whether I should take part against my native State. 
With all my devotion to the Union, and the feeling of 



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98 ROBERT E. LEE 

loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not 
been able to make up my mind to raise my hand 
against my relatives, my children, my home. I have, 
therefore, resigned my conunission in the Army, and 
save in defense of my native State — with the sin- 
cere hope that my poor services may never be needed 
— I hope I may never be called upon to draw my 
sword. 

I know that you will blame me; but you must 
think as kindly of me as you can, and believe that I 
have endeavored to do what I thought right. To 
show you the feeling and the struggle it has cost me, I 
send you a copy of my letter of resignation. I have 
no time for more. 

May God guard and protect you and yours, and 
shower upon you everlasting blessings, is the prayer of 
Your devoted brother, 

R. E. Lee. 

Two days later Lee bade Arlington a long and 
sorrowful farewell. He was destined never to see 
it again. He went immediately to Richmond in 
obedience to a summons from the governor, who 
at once nominated him major-general and com- 
mander-in-chief of the forces of Virginia. 

He was at once unanimously elected to the 
position by the convention, and invited to ap- 
pear before it. In spite of Lee's strong dislike of 
publicity, he felt that he could not refuse, and, 
in the presence of a great audience, he was pre- 
sented to the convention and welcomed by its 
president, who, after an eloquent address of wel- 
come, said : — 



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STATE OR NATION? 99 

Sir, we have by this unanimous vote expressed our 
convictions that you are at this day among the living 
citizens of Virginia, "first in war." We pray to God 
fervently that you may so conduct the operations 
committed to your charge that it will soon be said of 
you that you are "first in peace"; and when that 
time comes you will have earned the still prouder 
distinction of .being "first in the hearts of your coun- 
trymen." I will close with one more remark. 

When the Father of his Country made his last 
will and testament, he gave swords to his favorite 
nephews, with an injunction that they should never 
be drawn from their scabbards except in self-defense, 
or in defense of the rights and liberties of their coun- 
try; and that, if drawn for the latter purpose, they 
should fall with them in their hands rather than re- 
linquish them. 

Yesterday your mother, Virginia, placed her sword 
in your hand, upon the implied condition, that we 
know you will keep to the letter and in spirit, that 
you will draw it only in defense, and that you will 
fall with it in your hand, rather than that the object 
for which it was placed there shall fail. 

Lee, in dear tones, replied briefly: — 

Mr. President, and gentlemen of the convention: 
Profoundly impressed with the solemnity of the oc- 
casion, for which I must say I was not prepared, I 
accept the position assigned me by your partiality. 
I would have much preferred that your choice had 
fallen upon an abler man. Trusting in Almighty God, 
an approving conscience, and the aid of my fellow- 
citizens, I devote myself to the services of my native 
State, in whose behalf alone will I ever again draw 
my sword. 



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lOO ROBERT E. LEE 

Alexander H. Stephens, the Vice-President of 
the Confederacy, was present and said of the 
scene: — 

As he stood there, fresh and ruddy as a David from 
the sheepfold, in the prime of his manly beauty, and 
the embodiment of a line of heroic and patriotic 
fathers and worthy mothers, it was thus I first saw 
Robert E. Lee. I had preconceived ideas of the rough 
soldier with no time for the graces of life and by 
companionship almost compelled to the vices of his 
profession. I did not know then that he used no 
stimulants, was free even from the use of tobacco, 
and that he was absolutely stainless in his private 
life. I did not know then, as I do now, that he had 
been a model youth and young man ; but I had before 
me the most manly and entire gentleman I ever saw. 

Behind Lee's decision to obey the call of his 
State lay the whole history of the Union. When 
the Constitution of the United States was adopted, 
nearly every State which ratified it had already a 
separate history of its own which had then lasted 
more years than have passed since. Each had its 
own laws, customs, and traditions ; each, largely 
because of the long struggle with England for 
the right of self-government, was intolerant of 
outside power or influence. During the Revolu- 
tion they had needed each other and had acted 
together, but even then they would consent to no 
stronger form of government than that provided 
by the Articles of Confederation, which gave the 
Central Government so littie power that it was 



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STATE OR NATION? loi 

dangerously weak. At the close of the Revolu- 
tion England had declared each one a "free, 
sovereign, and independent State." Once again 
the needs of all led them to act together, and the 
Constitution was adopted in convention and rati- 
fied by the States. North Carolina and Rhode 
Island refused to ratify at first, but finally joined 
the new Union. If the Constitution had forbidden 
any State's withdrawal at will from the Union, 
not a single State would have ratified it. As 
it was. New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia, 
at the time of ratifying, all stated their right 
to withdraw, Virginia declaring, " that the pow- 
ers granted under the Constitution, being truly 
derived from the people of the United States, 
may be resumed by them whenever the same 
shall be perverted to their injury or oppression." 
No one questioned this right openly, if? indeed 
any one thought the opposite. As Mr. Henry 
Cabot Lodge says, " When the Constitution was 
adopted by the votes^of the States in convention 
at Philadelphia, and accepted by the votes of the 
States in popular conventions, it is safe to say 
there was not a man in the country, from Wash- 
ington and Hamilton on the one side, to George 
Clinton and George Mason on the other, who 
regarded the new system as an)rthing but an ex- 
periment entered upon by the States and from 
which each and every State had the right peace- 



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I02 ROBERT E. LEE 

ably to withdraw, a right which was very likely 
to be exercised." 

From the beginning of the new government, 
secession was accepted as a possibility. New 
England, with Massachusetts in the lead, often 
threatened it Webster, the eloquent prophet of 
our later national unity, began his public life as 
a secessionist. In the early years under the Con- 
stitution, individual States, and both North and 
South collectively, had at times looked toward 
secession. But as time passed, the political theory 
of the North began to change, and many people 
in that section denied the existence of the right 
The risejof manufacturing, the flood of immigra- 
tion, the progressive tendencies which come from 
the growth of cities and the spread of public edu- 
cation, all contributed to this. But the most pow- 
erful cause of the change was the rise to power and 
influence of the great West With no traditions of 
existence apart from the Union, States' Rights 
theories had not found ther^ a fertile soil. The 
North and the South talked of secession, and 
such States as Virginia and Massachusetts were 
proudly conscious of their noble history as indi- 
viduals, but the West, with its face to the future, 
thought only in terms of the Union, and claimed 
the glories of all the original States as the com- 
mon heritage of all Americans. To-day, in the 
cool light of history, there can be found no room 



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STATE OR NATION? 103 

for doubt of the historical and constitutional right 
of secession, but the occasion for putting that 
right into practice did not occur until both the 
North and the West had developed a point of 
view in which secession seemed simply rebellion 
and the sovereignty of the State a delusion. To the 
South, putting the theory to the test, it was still 
the comer-stone of government. The State was 
sovereign, secession was merely the exercise of 
an undoubted right, and the first duty of every 
citizen — his paramount allegiance — was owed 
to his State. 

In no State was state pride and feeling stronger 
than in Virginia. The making of the Union was 
largely due to her, and she loved it, was proud of 
it, and even felt a sort of maternal tenderness for 
it ; but in all things, according to Virginia theory, 
Virginia came first She did not want to leave 
the Union, and her safety as well as her interest 
and sentiment urged that she should not; but the 
choice of remaining carried with it the necessity 
of fighting those States most closely allied to her 
by ties of blood, friendship, and common interest, 
all of whom were acting, if unwisely, still in the 
exercise of what she considered their undoubted 
right There could be for her no thought of such 
a choice, and Virginia cast her lot with the South. 

In the atmosphere of States' Rights Lee had 
been bom and reared. His education, even at 



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I04 ROBERT E. LEE 

West Point, had carried him on to mature belief 
in state sovereignty. In this crisis it seemed to 
him that a struggle must be made to preserve 
the government of a federal union, as established 
by his fathers, from the threatened change into a 
national government Of this he said later, " I 
had no other guide, nor had I any other object 
than the defense of those principles of American 
liberty upon which the constitutions of the several 
States were originally founded, and unless they 
are strictly observed, I fear there will be an end 
to republican government in this country." At 
the close of the war, he said, "We had, I was 
satisfied, sacred principles and rights to defend 
for which we were in duty bound to do our best, 
even if we perished in the endeavor.^' 

In making his decision Lee was without thought 
of personal advantage or reputation. His choice, 
too, was for himself alone; he had no criticism 
for those who chose the opposite course. Even 
to his own son he sent this message : " Tell Custis 
he must consult his own judgment, reason, and 
conscience as to the course he may take. I do not 
wish him to be guided by my wishes or example. 
If I have done wrong, let him do better. The 
present is a momentous question which every 
man must settle for himself and upon principle." 

In these words Lee stated the case. There was 
a divided allegiance, and every man had to de- 



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STATE OR NATION? 105 

cide which was paramount. As Charles Francis 
Adams, the distinguished tiistorian, himself a 
soldier of the Union who fought against Lee and 
the South, says, " Every man in the eleven States 
seceding from the Union had in 1861, whether 
he would or no, to decide for himself whether to 
adhere to his State or to the Nation ; and I finally 
assert that, whichever way he decided, if he only 
decided honestly, putting self-interest behind him, 
he decided right" 

Lee knew far better than most men in the South 
the strength and resources of the North, and he 
had no illusions as to any easy victory. He knew 
that the chance of victory was a doubtful one. 
And yet he declined the highest rank in his pro- 
fession that he might serve his own State. And 
he did this simply because he sought always to 
do the right as God gave it to him to see the 
right, and for him, a Lee of Virginia, there was 
no other choice. " Duty," he said, " is the sub- 
limest word in our language." "There is a true 
glory and a true honor, the glory of duty done, 
the honor of the integrity of principle " ; and 
finally, these words to his son Custis : " I know 
that wherever you may be placed you will do 
your duty. That is all the pleasure, all the com- 
fort, all the glory we can enjoy in this world." In 
these words, the keynote of his whole life, lie the 
explanation and defense — if there still be any 



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io6 ROBERT E. LEE 

need of defense in this day of a united and un- 
derstanding country — of Lee's decision. 

At the time of the centenary celebration of 
Lee's birth, the " Outiook," in an editorial, ex- 
pressed the best thought of the Nation to-day as 
to the choice of Lee and his comrades : " If will- 
ingness to sacrifice what is passionately prized 
next to honor itself is any criterion as to the de- 
gree of patriotism that begets such sacrifice, then 
the Southerners of whom Robert E. Lee is the type 
are to be counted among the patriots whose lives 
constitute the real riches of the nation." 



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CHAPTER IX 

A YEAR OF TRIAL 

No one can appreciate Lee's great military 
achievements who is not fully aware of the ob- 
stacles that beset the path of the Confederacy 
from the moment of its birth. These were all se- 
rious, and all the great advantages were with the 
North. The first of these advantages was having 
an organized Government with the departments 
in good working order. Of course the most im- 
portant of these were the War, Treasury, and 
Navy Departments. The army was small, but it 
was well officered and trained. The navy, also 
small, was fair. The financial system of the Gov- 
ernment was well established. The Government 
of the United States also had old and friendly 
relations with the various foreign powers, a thing 
which proved a great difficulty to the Confeder- 
acy when it sought recognition abroad as an in- 
dependent power. In the second place, the South 
was far outnumbered. The eleven States which 
seceded had a little more than nine millons of 
people, of whom about three and a half millions 
were negroes, most of them slaves. In addition, 
there was strong Union sentiment in the western 



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io8 ROBERT E. LEE 

parts of Virginia and North Carolina and in east- 
em Tennessee, and these sections furnished many 
troops to the Union. The twenty-two States 
which remained in the Union had more than 
twenty-two millions of people. In the third place, 
the immense area of the South was difficult to 
defend and easy to attack. All the Southern 
States touched the Adantic Ocean or the Gulf of 
Mexico, except Arkansas and Tennessee, and all 
of them had inland waterways formed by sounds 
and rivers, the latter extending far into their bor- 
ders. And between the North and the South 
there was no natural boundary. In the fourth 
place, the Confederacy was made up entirely of 
agricultural States and was entirely dependent 
upon the outside world for most of its manufac- 
tured goods. The South could not supply its ar- 
mies with shoes, clothes, medicines, arms, and 
ammunition. It has been well said that the South 
" could scarcely manufacture a tin cup, a frying- 
pan, a wool-card, or a carpenter's tool." It had 
difficulty in supplying itself with so universally 
necessary a thing as salt All the bells in the South, 
practically, were melted down to make cannon. 
Old flintlock muskets, rifles, and pistols were 
brought out, and a number of Southern regi- 
ments went into the war armed with home-made 
pikes which they used until they were supplied 
with arms by the Government or were able to 



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A YEAR OF TRIAL 109 

pick up muskets on the battle-field The South 
also lacked sufficient railroads to transport sup- 
plies and troops rapidly from point to point, and 
so it was impossible, in spite of the vast supplies 
of food, to feed the armies properly. As the 
blockade of the coast tightened, all these diffi- 
culties were increased. Finally, the South suf- 
fered from the lack of a trained business class — 
manufacturers, financiers, engineers, and admin- 
istrators — to help the Government carry on the 
war. As the war progressed, these conditions 
grew worse, and through them the Confederacy 
at last met defeat. 

On the other hand, the South had at the be- 
ginning of the war certain advantages over the 
North. Her men were out-of-door men, most of 
them trained horsemen and almost all good 
marksmen. The ranks of the army were made up 
of men from all classes fighting with the common 
purpose of resisting what they counted invasion 
and oppression and of saving their homes and 
hearthstones from the enemy. It seemed to them 
that this was a repetition of the Revolution, 
which to the unchanged South was still a living 
memory. Thus there was created a unity of spirit, 
an enthusiasm hard to defeat. There were but 
few military schools in the South, but from these 
few, such as the Citadel, or South Carolina Mili- 
tary Academy, in Charleston, and the Virginia 



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no ROBERT E. LEE 

Military Institute, at Lexington, came a trained 
group of men who were now called upon to serve 
as officers. There were also a large number of 
Southern officers in the United States Armyi 
West Point graduates, who, like Lee, followed 
their States and became the leaders of the armies 
of the Confederacy. Colonel Henderson, a noted 
English student of the war, said, " Lee and Jack- 
son were worth two hundred thousand men to 
any army they commanded." Yet Lee spoke 
truly when he said, " It will be difficult to get the 
world to understand the odds against which we 
fought." 

Lee had been appointed a major-general in the 
Army of Virginia, but when that State joined the 
Confederacy, he at once lost his rank. He could, 
with a word, have kept Virginia from joining the 
Confederacy until his future high rank was secure, 
but he said no word. He did not know what his 
rank would be and was preparing to enlist as a 
private in his son's cavalry company. Vice-Pres- 
ident Stephens, on the day of Lee's acceptance 
of the Virginia command, had a long interview 
with him and discussed this aspect of the situa- 
tion. Lee did not hesitate a moment in urging 
that his own personal interests should not stand 
in the way of union with the Confederacy. Ste- 
phens said later: ^'I had admired him in the 
morning, but I took his hand that night at part- 



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A YEAR OF TRIAL in 

ing with feelings of respect and reverence never 
yet effaced. I met him at times later^ and he was 
always the same Christian gentleman. I regard 
Lee as one of the first men I ever met. I was 
wonderfully taken with him in our first interview. 
I saw him put to the test that tries true charac- 
ter. He came out of the crucible pure and refined 
gold." 

By this time, Arlington, Lee's loved home, was 
in the hands of Federal forces. At first every care 
was taken to protect the entire property, but later 
the trees were cut down and the many relics of 
the Washington, Parke, Custis, and Lee families 
were seized. Some of these were taken to Wash- 
ington and were finally placed in the National 
Museum ; but the greater part of them were stolen 
by individuals and became scattered. After the 
war, in speaking of this, Lee said : " I hope the 
possessors appreciate them and may imitate the 
example of their original owners whose conduct 
must at times be brought to their recollection by 
these silent monitors. In this way they will ac- 
complish good to the country.'' 

Mrs. Lee, after the war, sought to secure the 
return of the relics stored at Washington, but 
Congress forbade their restoration, the committee 
in charge of the matter declaring her request 
"an insult to the loyal people of the United 
States." But shortly before his death, President 



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112 ROBERT E. LEE 

McKinley ordered them returned to the Lee 
family. Arlington itself was sold for taxes, though 
payment was oflFered by friends of the Lees. The 
Government bought the place and at once con- 
verted it into a military cemetery. Years after- 
wards the Supreme Court of the United States 
decided that it had been illegally taken and or- 
dered it restored to General Custis Lee. But 
with sixteen thousand Union soldiers buried 
there it was impossible to give it up into private 
hands, and so it was purchased by the Govern- 
ment. It is so definitely associated with Lee, as 
well as with those who died to save the Union, 
that one likes to think, to-day, that the time is 
not far distant when to patriotic Americans it 
will seem also a cherished memorial of an undi- 
vided country. 

As soon as the war began, Lee was made a 
brigadier-general in the Confederate Army. He 
was at this time busily engaged in organizing 
the raw volunteer troops who poured into Rich- 
mond, and, before two months had passed, he 
had sent to the front sixty regiments of infantry 
and cavalry and many batteries of artillery. 
When Virginia seceded, Richmond became the 
capital of the Confederacy. Its capture now be- 
came the chief end and aim of the Washington 
Administration. The South, on the other hand, 
bent every energy toward preventing its fall. In 



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A YEAR OF TRIAL 113 

June Lee was made military adviser to President 
Davis, and in this capacity directed the move- 
ments of troops and chose the points in Virginia 
which should form the line of defense. It was his 
plan of defense which resulted in the batde of 
Manassas, or Bull Run. At this time the Confed- 
erate plan of campaign was to stand entirely on 
the defensive. The Confederate Government 
had no wish to attack the United States, but was 
most anxious to remain unmolested. This was 
the chief reason why, immediately after the batde 
of Manassas, when the road to Washington lay 
open to the Confederates, there was no attempt 
made to capture the city. 

Soon after the batde Lee was sent to north- 
west Virginia to take command there. It was a 
section where there much opposition to the Con- 
federacy ; and General George B. McClellan had 
been sent into it from the West to gain the en- 
tire region for the Union, and, in particular, to 
hold the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Rail- 
road. The Confederate forces there were then 
under the command of General Gamett The 
Confederates at first held Harper's Ferry, but 
later abandoned it. McClellan at once seized the 
mountain passes and fortified them. Gamett's 
force, divided into two parts, was then defeated, 
and McClellan reported that he had " annihilated 
two armies." This report was believed in Wash- 



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114 ROBERT E. LEE 

ington, and, after the defeat at Manassas, he was 
called to take command of the Federal army be- 
tween Washington and Richmond. He was re- 
placed in the West by Generals Reynolds and 
Rosecrans. Garnett in the meantime was killed, 
and the Confederate forces, under two rival briga- 
dier-generals who had been diosen for political 
reasons, were steadily losing ground. This was 
the difficult situation which Lee had to meet 
when he took conmiand. Just at this time he 
was given the rank of general, that grade having 
been established by the Confederate Congress. 
'He was outranked only by General Samuel 
Cooper, the adjutant-general, who had been ad- 
jutant-general of the United States Army, and 
Albert Sidney Johnston, who had outranked him 
also. 

When he reached the mountains, a long rainy 
season had set in and the roads were almost im- 
passable. The Confederate forces were also in 
the grip of epidemics of measles and typhoid 
fever. General Reynolds had taken up a position 
on Cheat Mountain and Valley River. This was 
too strong to be attacked on the front alone, but 
a way was found to flank it and attack it from all 
sides at once. The plan failed. The signal for the 
attack was to have been given by a colonel in com- 
.mand of one of the attacking parties. False re- 
ports heard from prisoners caused him to believe 



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A YEAR OF TRIAL 115 

the Federal force much larger than it really was, 
and he did not give the signal. The other attack- 
ing parties waited until there was no chance of a 
surprise attack, and Lee then had to give the 
signal to retire, and fell back to Valley Moun- 
tain. 

In the middle of September Lee went to the 
Kanawha region. Here the rival generals, Wise 
and Floyd, were in intense and bitter disagree- 
ment, and Lee found it difficult to reconcile 
them. General Rosecrans was in command of 
the Federal forces and occupied an unusually 
strong position on Big Sewall Mountain. Lee 
took one equally strong on a parallel plateau and 
here waited for an attack to be made upon him. 
Time passed and none was made, so Lee planned 
a flank movement. He was prevented from car- 
rying this out by Rosecrans's retreat, and, as 
his own force was in such poor condition, and 
as supplies could only be procured day by day, 
Lee thought a long pursuit over the terrible 
roads would be poor policy and kept it up only 
for one day. Winter came on and put an end to 
the campaign, and the Confederacy abandoned 
its efforts to hold the region. Its people leaned 
strongly to the North, and, during the following 
year, split off from Virginia, and set up the new 
State of West Virginia, which was soon admitted 
to the Union. 



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ii6 ROBERT E. LEE 

Lee came out of this campaign with a dimin- 
ished reputation. Few people outside the army 
understood how difficult his task had been, and 
the newspapers criticized him bitteriy. They said 
that he had been overrated, that all he had was 
a '* showy presence " and an ** historical name," 
and that he could "dig entrenchments" better 
than he could fight They sneered, too, at his 
"West Point tactics," and called him "Evacuat- 
ing Lee." But President Davis's faith in him held 
fast and he looked forward to a time when he 
could place Lee in a post of greater importance 
as well as of greater opportuni^. 

Lee returned to Richmond, and was soon or- 
dered to take charge of the coast defenses in 
South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. In the 
summer of 1861 a Federal fleet under Admiral 
Goldsborough and a military expedition under 
General Bumside had captured several important 
points on the North Carolina coast A little later 
Port Royal, in South Carolina, was taken, leav- 
ing Savannah exposed. Charleston was also in 
danger, and it was dear that some decided action 
must be taken to strengthen the Southern coast 
defenses. Lee was by far the best person to plan 
and direct this work. He was already familiar 
with the coast and at once chose the points most 
needing fortification and placed there a few fine 
cannon brought through the blockade. After a 



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A YEAR OF TRIAL 117 

close examination he decided to abandon all the 
islands and other exposed points and make a 
strong interior line of defenses against which ves- 
sels of war would be useless. Strong fortifications 
were made, and it was not long before the Fed- 
eral attacking forces found themselves attacked. 
By this time the Confederacy was making its own 
heavy guns instead of depending on those brought 
through the blockade, and there was no longer 
any lack of cannon. Lee's plan and the defenses 
erected were so eflfective that the coast was en- 
tirely protected until an inland attack was made 
upon it just before the close of the war. 

By the time Lee's work in the South was fin- 
ished, spring was at hand. The oudook for the 
Confederacy was bad. Forts Henry and Donel- 
son, two important posts in Tennessee, control- 
ling the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, had 
been captured by a comparatively unknown Fed- 
eral brigadier-general whom Lee had once met 
in Mexico, and whom he was destined to know 
better. His name was Ulysses S. Grant. This 
capture not only opened the rivers to the Federal 
forces, but exposed a large part of the interior of 
several States. Nashville, the capital of Tennes- 
see, at once fell, and for the rest of the war was 
in the hands of the Federal forces. 

Even worse for the South than all this, Rich- 
mond was threatened by a large Federal army, 



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ii8 ROBERT E. LEE 

superbly equipped, and now, thanks to the won- 
derful work of General McClellan, splendidly 
organized, disciplined, and trained. On account 
of this situation Lee was summoned back to Rich- 
mond, and, on March 13, 1862, again became 
military adviser to the President and was charged 
with the duty of oversight of all military opera- 
tions under the direction of the President 



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CHAPTER X 

IN CHIEF COMMAND 

When Lee returned to Virginia from the South, 
he saw his devoted wife for the first time since 
they had parted at Arlington. There was little 
time even now for him to be with his family, for 
the call for him to go to Richmond as President 
Davis's chief military adviser came almost at 
once. Mrs. Lee and her daughters were then at 
the White House, but, as McClellan advanced 
in that direction, they also went to Richmond. 
On the door of her house Mrs. Lee left this 
card: — 

Northern soldiers, who profess to reverence Wash- 
ington, forbear to desecrate the home of his first 
married life, the property of his wife, now owned by 
her descendants. 

A grand-daughter of Mrs. Washington, 

McClellan chose the place as his headquarters, 
and one of his officers wrote beneath Mrs. Lee's 
card: "A Northern officer has protected your 
property in sight of the enemy." But when the 
change of base was made by McClellan, the house 
was burned. 
No military operations of importance had taken 



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I20 ROBERT E. LEE 

place in Virginia since the battle of Manassas. 
General McClellan was busy organizing and train- 
ing what was to become that superb fighting ma- 
chine, the " Army of the Potomac." The North 
clamored for the capture of Richmond, so the 
Washington Administration centered its atten- 
tion upon this. There were four possible ways 
of reaching the city. An army might go by the 
Chesapeake and from there up the Peninsula be- 
tween the Potomac and York Rivers. A second 
way was by the Chesapeake and the Rappahan- 
nock River. Another was by Manassas, which 
was still the most important point in central Vir- 
ginia because of the junction of important rail- 
roads there. The fourth was by the Shenandoah 
Valley and Charlottesville. The Administration 
favored another attempt at Manassas, where Gen- 
eral Joseph E. Johnston commanded the Confed- 
erate forces, because that method would keep 
the Federal army between the Confederates and 
Washington. McClellan preferred the route by 
the Rappahannock, but he was forbidden to try 
it. He then selected that by the Chesapeake and 
up the Peninsula, and in March, with an army of 
over one hundred thousand men, he sailed for 
Fortress Monroe. From there the army advanced 
slowly up the Peninsula. The small Confederate 
force at Yorktown, under General Magruder, re- 
sisted his advance ^agorously and succeeded in 



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IN CHIEF COMMAND 121 

ddajong him a month. In the meantime General 
Johnston assmned command and evacuated York- 
town before it could be bombarded. At Williams- 
burg, the colonial capital of Virginia, McClellan 
attacked the Confederates, now between thirty 
and forty thousand strong. He was repulsed, and 
so failed to prevent the successful retreat of the 
Confederates across the Chickahominy River in 
the direction of Richmond. 

McClellan followed slowly, making only fifty 
miles in two weeks. He thought Johnston's 
strength much greater than it really was and con- 
tinually asked for strong reinforcements. These 
were not sent because the President feared that 
Washington would be captured by Jackson. Gen- 
eral Thomas J. Jackson, who had won at Manas- 
sas the name of "Stonewall," was in command 
in the Shenandoah Valley against the forces 
under Generals McDowell, Banks, and Fremont. 
Acting upon Lee's suggestion he now began his 
famous Valley Campaign. With a force of fifteen 
thousand men, in a space of forty days, he 
marched four hundred miles, thereby winning 
for his men the name of "Jackson's Foot Cav- 
alry," fought three important battles and two 
minor ones, winning them all and almost de- 
stroying three Federal armies whose combined 
force was more than forty thousand men. He 
took thirty-five hundred prisoners and also cap- 



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122 ROBERT E. LEE 

tured valuable supplies. He also prevented the 
sending of reinforcements to McClellan. 

In the meantime Norfolk had been evacuated 
by the Confederate forces, the Merrimac, unde- 
feated, had been destroyed, and Federal gun- 
boats had taken possession of the James River 
up to Drewr/s Bluff, just outside of Richmond. 
But in spite of this assistance, McClellan had still 
delayed. He finally divided his force, and John- 
ston, taking advantage of this, attacked one wing 
of his army at Fair Oaks, or Seven Pines, and 
fought an inconclusive battle, in which Johnston 
was severely wounded. Apparently the Confed- 
erates lost this battle only because of General 
Longstreefs delay in coming up, which turned 
it into a Union victory. Richmond came near to 
being taken, McClellan's army coming in sight 
of its church steeples, and one corps reaching a 
point only four miles from the city. At this crisis 
Lee was directed by the President to take per- 
sonal command, and, on the ist of June, he joined 
the army. 

The force at Lee's command was only eighty 
thousand men to oppose the one hundred and 
fifteen thousand commanded by McClellan, but 
McClellan, as always, firmly believed that he was 
outnumbered. Many people still thought that 
Lee was fitted only for defensive work. He now 
began to prove his ability along other lines of 



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IN CHIEF COMMAND 123 

warfare and showed himself possessed of a dash 
and daring far beyond that of most commanders. 
Withdrawing his army nearer Richmond, he im- 
mediately threw up strong earthworks, thereby 
protecting his whole line of defense, and called 
in all the troops he could get. McClellan was in- 
active, but Lee had no notion of remaining long 
within the entrenchments. He prepared for an 
aggressive campaign to drive the enemy away 
from Richmond. His first move was to send Gen- 
eral J. E. B. Stuart with a small force of cavalry 
to locate McClellan's right flank. Stuart, who 
was one of the world's great cavalry leaders, took 
his force completely aroun4 the entire Federal 
army. Those forces which opposed him were 
driven back and a great quantity of stores was 
captured. One corps of the Federal army was on 
the north bank of the Chickahominy, protecting 
the line of communication with the base on York 
River. The breaking of this line would cause a 
dangerous retreat 

Jackson was now secretiy summoned from the 
Valley to fall on McClellan's right flank and rear, 
and, in order to deceive McClellan, at the same 
time troops were detached from the main army 
in front of Richmond and apparentiy started for 
the Valley. The plan was a bold one, for, if Mc- 
Clellan should move forward, he would be much 
nearer Richmond and in a much stronger posi- 



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124 ROBERT E. LEE 

tion and with only twenty-five thousand troops 
before him. Lee, however, possessed the gift, 
which means so much to an army commander, 
of foreseeing what the enemy would do, and he 
felt sure that McClellan would once more over- 
estimate the Confederate force. With character- 
istic boldness he divided his force, and, for a time, 
the main body of his army was farther from Rich- 
mond than the Federal army. 

On June 26 there began what are known as 
the Seven Days' Battles. Jackson had counted 
on greater speed from his men than was possible 
for them and was a day late, so that the Confed- 
erate attack was repulsed before he arrived. But 
on the next day, at Gaines's Mills, Jackson and 
his men having reached the battie-field, the Fed- 
eral right wing was shattered and the army 
forced to retreat. McClellan now determined to 
change his base to the James River and, thus 
completely deceiving Lee, was able to bring his 
army together, bum his stores, and retreat in 
good order. Late the next night the Confederates 
finally discovered the plan and followed McClel- 
lan. Hody contested battles took place, one at 
Savage's Station without decisive result, and one 
at Frazier's Farm, which was a victory for the 
Confederates. Finally, the Federal forces in re- 

t took a strong position at Malvern Hill. 

e, after a furious batde, the Confederate at- 



r 






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IN CHIEF COMMAND 125 

tack was repulsed. McClellan, still retreating, 
however, sought the protection of the Federal 
gunboats at Harrison's Landing on the James. 
Lee, with an exhausted but exultant army, re- 
turned toward Richmond, having succeeded in 
his purpose of raising the siege. He had- cap- 
tured many prisoners as well as a large amount 
of artillery and small arms and other supplies of 
great value to his army. It was the failure of 
those under Lee to obey his orders during these 
operations which prevented his dealing a crush- 
ing blow to McClellan's forces, but the Federal 
army had fought with superb bravery and splen- 
did dash and daring. It was plain that it was 
not likely to suffer again such a rout as that at 
Manassas. Lee on this occasion displayed the 
weakness — which was his greatest one as a com- 
mander — of being inclined, through tenderness 
of heart, to overlook such failures in obedience 
from his subordinate commanders and to let 
them go unpunished. In spite of this repulse of 
the Federals, Richmond was in grave danger. 
McClellan was only a few miles away and it was 
possible for him to cross the river and attack 
Richmond on the south and also cut the Rich- 
mond and Danville Railroad by which Richmond 
was connected with a valuable source of supplies. 
President Lincoln now called for five hundred 
thousand volunteers and appointed General H. 



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126 ROBERT E. LEE 

W. Halleck commander of the Federal forces. 
He placed at the head of the army in front of 
Washington General John Pope, who had gained 
some small success in the West Pope, who was 
boastful, had made much of this and hoped to 
replace McClellan. Lee now detached Jackson's 
command from the army and sent him to meet 
Pope. McClellan, on the other side, was ordered 
to leave Fredericksburg and join Pope, whereupon 
Lee sent Longstreet to aid Jackson and he him- 
self followed almost immediately. Before McClel- 
lan's army could reach Pope, Lee succeeded in 
sending Longstreet and Jackson around Pope's 
right flank to a position between the Federal 
army and Washington. The second battle of 
Manassas, or Bull Run, was then fought, in which 
Lee's army of fifty thousand men overwhelm- 
ingly defeated Pope's army of seventy-five thou- 
sand and pushed it back to Washington. Pope 
was at once removed from command. 

Lee, after much consideration of the matter, 
now decided to invade the North. He hoped to 
draw Maryland to the support of the Confeder- 
acy, and he felt, too, that such a move would so 
alarm the North that the Federal troops would 
be withdrawn from Virginia in order to defend 
Washington. The Confederate Army, singing 
" Dixie" and " Maryland, my Maryland," crossed 
the Potomac near Harper's Ferry. They expected 



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IN CHIEF COMMAND 127 

the people of Maryland to rally at once to the 
Stars and Bars, and Lee issued a proclamation 
urging them to rise against the North. He gained 
little response, for there was a good deal of 
Union sentiment in that part of Maryland, and 
an even stronger desire to keep the war out of the 
State as far as possible. Lee's army was ragged, 
barefoot, and hungry. The inhabitants would not 
sell supplies, and Lee had forbidden foraging, so 
the half-starved soldiers were tantalized by the 
sight of orchards hanging with autumn fruit and 
by food supplies of all sorts. The order against 
foraging was strictly enforced and Lee went so 
far as to order the execution of a soldier who had 
stolen a pig. The urgent need of supplies would 
be met by the capture of Harper's Ferry and that 
would also open up communication with the Val- 
ley, so Lee sent Jackson to take it, and, on Sep- 
tember 15, it fell, and its vast supplies of arms, 
clothing, and food thus came into the possession 
of the Confederates. 

McClellan was now again placed in command 
of the Federal forces. At first he acted with great 
promptness. Then there fell into his hands a copy 
of Lee's order outlining his plan of campaign. 
This was found where General D. H. Hill's tent 
had stood, and it is supposed that it was left 
there by one of his staff. With this to guide him, 
McClellan became too confident and acted so 



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128 ROBERT E. LEE 

slowly that Jackson had captured Harper's Ferry 
and had turned back to rejoin Lee before Mc- 
Clellan made an attack. The preliminary batde 
was fought at South Mountain in which the Fed- 
eral army gained the advantage. This was fol- 
lowed by the batde of Sharpsburg, or AntietanL 
For its length this was the bloodiest batde of the 
entire war, the Federal losses being more than 
thirteen thousand, and Lee's more than eleven 
thousand. McClellan's military tactics were not 
of the best, while Lee's were very skillful ; but 
the Federal army was more than twice the size 
of Lee's and this was a Federal victory, though 
not at all a decisive one. Lee's advance was 
checked, however. He would not cross the Poto- 
mac, but waited eagerly for the attack which he 
believed McClellan would make. He considered 
renewing the battle himself, but, as McClellan 
was receiving reinforcements, it seemed at last 
a wiser policy to retire into Virginia, a movement 
executed without interference from McClellan. 
The truth was that McClellan did not dare make 
the attack, and, during the five weeks that he 
waited to do so, Stuart again rode around the 
entire Federal army and captured a thousand 
horses. 

In the North there was strong feeling against 
McClellan, and he was soon removed. He was 
succeeded by General Ambrose E. Bumside, who 



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IN CHIEF COMMAND 129 

at once recommended a rapid advance toward 
Richmond by way of Fredericksburg. Lee, who 
had again divided his army by sending Jackson 
to the Valley, now reunited his forces at Freder- 
icksburg. Here he mustered about seventy-eight 
thousand men and took a position of great 
strength. On December 13 Bumside sent his 
army of one hundred and sixteen thousand men 
across the river in three divisions against the 
Confederates, who inflicted a terrific defeat upon 
them. The Federal troops fought with the great- 
est bravery and dash, but they faced an impossi- 
ble task here and their losses were very great 
After the batde both armies went into winter 
quarters just where they were. Bumside was re- 
moved from command and his place filled by 
General Joseph E. Hooker, known, on account of 
his readiness to fight, as "Fighting Joe." He 
soon had a splendid army of one hundred and 
thirty thousand men under him, with four hun- 
dred and twenty-eight guns, while Lee had only 
fifty-seven thousand men and one hundred and 
seventy guns. 

In April, 1863, Hooker crossed the Rappahan- 
nock to move on Richmond. At Chancellorsville 
he was confronted by Lee and Jackson, and a 
furious battle took place. Lee had foreseen 
Hooker's strategy and was thus able to block it, 
and the Federal army was driven back across the 



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I30 ROBERT E. LEE 

Rappahannock in confusion and with heavy 
losses. But Lee and the Confederacy had lost 
Jackson. He and his staff were returning from a 
scouting expedition when, through a mistake, his 
own men fired upon them, wounding Jackson se- 
verely. He died a few days later, saying, " Let us 
cross over the river and rest under the shade of 
the trees." When Lee heard of his wound, he 
wrote Jackson, " Had I my choice I would for the 
good of the country have fadlen in your place" ; 
later he sent this message to him, "You have 
lost your left arm, but I have lost my right " ; and 
he sent word to him also that the credit for the 
victory at Chancellorsville belonged to him. This 
was a generous message, but the victory was 
really Lee's, and perhaps it was his greatest 
one. 

Lee now decided to force the fighting and draw 
the Federal army away from Richmond by again 
invading the North. He asked that Beauregard 
be sent to threaten Washington in order to keep 
the Federal army well divided, but the Confeder- 
ate Government did not heed this request Lee 
first crossed the Blue Ridge and marched down 
the Valley, then crossed the Potomac at Harper's 
Ferry and moved across Maryland into Pennsyl- 
vania. Again, he forbade foraging and issued the 
following general order: — 



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IN CHIEF COMMAND 131 

General Orders No. 73. 
Headquarters Army Northern Virginia, 

Chambersburg, Pa., June 27, 1863. 

The commanding general has observed with 
marked satisfaction the conduct of the troops on the 
march, and confidently anticipates results commen- 
surate with the high spirit they have manifested. No 
troops could have displayed greater fortitude or 
better have performed the arduous marches of the 
past ten days. Their conduct in other respects has, 
with few exceptions, been in keeping with their 
character as soldiers, and entitles them to approba- 
tion and praise. 

There have been, however, instances of forgetful- 
ness on the part of some that they have in keeping 
the yet unsullied reputation of the army, and that 
the duties exacted of us by civilization and Christian- 
ity are not less obligatory in the coimtry of the enemy 
than in our own. The commanding general considers 
that no greater disgrace could befall -the army, and 
through it our whole people, than the perpetration 
of the barbarous outrages upon the innocent and 
defenseless, and the wanton destruction of private 
property, that have marked the course of the enemy 
in our own country. Such proceedings not only dis- 
grace the perpetrators and all connected with them, 
but are subversive of the discipline and efficiency of 
the army, and destructive of the ends of our present 
movements. It must be remembered that we make 
war only upon armed men, and that we cannot take 
vengeance for the wrongs our people have suffered 
without lowering ourselves in the eyes of all whose ab- 
horrence has been excited by the atrocities of our 
enemy and offending against Him to whom vengeance 
belongeth, and without whose favor and support our 
efforts must all prove in vain. 



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132 ROBERT E. LEE 

The coramanding general, fhaefare, eanestfy a- 
toorts the troops to abstain, with mast scnqmlaBs 
care, from unnecessary or wanton injmy to private 
property ; and he enjoins upon all oflkers to anestand 
bring to 6ununar>- punishment all who diall in any 
way offend a^inst the orders on this subject. 

R. £. Lee, Geaera/. 

Lee was urged to allow tcptisals for what the 

South had suffered, but replied that, if Jhe did sudi 

a thing, he could not ask the Uessing of God 

upon his anns. It was the influence of Lee and 

this order which enables Charls Fiands Adans 

to say, "I doubt if a hostile force of an equal size 

ever advanced into an enemy's country, or fell 

back from it m retreat, leaving behind less caise 

of hate and bitterness than did the Army of 

Northern Virginia in that memorable campaign 

which culminated at Gettysburg." The same 

writer says that possibly Lee's great^t tide to 

fame was " his humanity in war." 

Lee's advance threatened the rear of Washing- 
ton, and also Baltimore and Philadelphia. New- 
York, even, was gready alarmed. This dty was 
now in the midst of the draft riots and thought- 
ful people all over the country saw in an invasion 
of the Confederates great danger to the Union 
cause. Hooker followed on Lee's right, his army 
rapidly increasing in numbers as he went On 
June 28 he was displaced by General George G. 
Meade, an energetic and soldierly officer, who had. 



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IN CHIEF COMMAND 133 

however, never before held an independent com- 
mand. 

On July I the two armies came together at 
Gettysburg, a litde town in Pennsylvania. Lee 
counted on Stuart for information as to the where- 
abouts of the Federal army, but Stuart had been 
drawn too far away for a report and the meeting 
came somewhat as a surprise to Lee. Meade had 
taken a position on the crest of a range of hills 
to the south and east of Gettysburg, known as 
Cemetery Ridge. The Confederate army at once 
occupied the hills opposite, called Seminary 
Ridge. 

The battle lasted three days. On the first the 
Confederates swept back a large Federal force 
through the town and to the hills. On the sec- 
ond day the Confederates again attacked, but 
Longstreet, who was bitterly opposed to Lee's 
plans, failed to obey orders, and the attack was 
made much later in the day than Lee had di- 
rected, a delay the Federals did not fail to take 
advantage of to strengthen their position. There 
was no decided victory, but Lee was encouraged 
to hope for success on the following day. On the 
third day Longstreet again failed to obey orders, 
still protesting against the battle. But Lee said : 
" The enemy is here ; if we don't whip him, he 
will whip us." On that day, after a furious bom- 
bardment of some hours, Lee ordered an assault 



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134 ROBERT E. LEE 

by LongstTeet's corps cm the center of Meade's 
line. Three divisions under Pickett, Pettigrew, 
and Trimble were to cross the open valley, three 
quarters of a mile wide, and, after attacking the 
Federal lines, receive the support of Longstreef s 
entire force. As they started there was a lull in 
the artillery firing for a little while, but, as the 
gray line swept on toward the Federal position, 
the cannon poured a deadly hail into the advanc- 
ing line. On they rushed in spite of it Many 
of them reached the stone wall behind which the 
Federals lay pouring a destructive fire upon 
them ; some even crossed the wall and engaged 
in a hand-to-hand conflict Longstreet should 
have come at once to their support, but he failed 
to advance. The high tide of the charge rolled 
back and the batde was lost With the turning 
of the tide of batde came the turning-point in the 
fortunes of the Confederacy. From this time on, 
in spite of some brilliant successes, the Confeder- 
ates fought a defensive fight and a losing one. 
By this defeat hope of foreign recognition was 
lost and the Confederacy was doomed. The next 
day the capture of Vicksburg was added to the 
Federal victories. 

Lee, always generous, took the blame of the 
failure upon himself. A littie later he even offered 
to resign in favor of some younger and abler 
man. There were many younger men, but where 



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IN CHIEF COMMAND 135 

was an abler one than Lee to be found ? Pres- 
ident Davis, of course, refused this, saying, " To 
ask me to substitute you by some one in my 
judgment more fit to command, or who would 
possess more of the confidence of the army, or of 
the reflecting men of the country, is to demand 
an impossibility." 

Lee said later, " If I had had Stonewall Jack- 
son at Gettysburg, I would have won that battle, 
and a victory there would have given us Wash- 
ington and Baltimore, if not Philadelphia, and 
would have established the independence of the 
country." It is to-day, in the light of later knowl- 
edge, not at all certain that all that Lee believed 
would have come to pass, but there is little doubt 
that, if Jackson had been at Gettysburg, the bat- 
tie would have been won by the Confederates, 
and probably decisively won on the second day. 

All the day after the battle Lee waited for a 
Federal attack. None was made, and, as his am- 
munition was almost gone, he retreated slowly 
and with great skill across Maryland into Vir- 
ginia, followed by Meade, who, however, ven- 
tured no attack. During the rest of 1863 there 
were no real batties fought in Virginia. There 
was much manoeuvering in which Meade showed 
great skill and Lee even more, but the two 
armies never tried conclusions. Lee would again 
have crossed the iPotomac but for the fact that 



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136 ROBERT E. LEE 

his men were without shoes and almost without 
rations. 

In November Lee overcame a plan of Meade's 
to surprise him, and immediately afterwards went 
into winter quarters. This was a terrible winter 
for the Army of Northern Virginia. A large part 
of the army lacked shoes, blankets, and over- 
coats ; most of them were clothed in rags ; and 
they even lacked sufl&cient food both for them- 
selves and for their horses. But, having always 
before them the example of their great com- 
mander, they withstood hardship and privation 
with the fortitude that their ancestors had dis- 
played at Valley Forge ; and even with a gayety 
of spirit, they waited for the renewal of fighting 
which would come with the spring. 

When the Spring came Lee found a new op- 
ponent before him. General Ulysses S. Grant, 
after brilliant successes in the West, had been 
promoted in March, 1864, to the chief command 
of the Federal armies, and had at once assumed 
personal direction of the Army of the Potomac. 
From this time his was the most dominant 
figure on the Northern side in the history of the 
war. 



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voongw thaa ^ ^"^ 

nmstache, ■*»- -"**■ 

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I40 ROBERT E. LEE 

carried some fresh eggs laid by her own hens; the 
second, some pickles made by her mother; the third, 
some pop com which had grown in her garden. They 
were accompanied by a young maid with a block of 
soap made by her mother. . . . The eldest of the 
girls, whose age did not exceed eight years, had a 
small wheel on which she spun for her mother, who 
wove all the clothes for her two brothers — boys of 
twelve and fourteen years. I have not had so pleas^ 
ant a visit for a long time. I fortunately was able to 
fill their baskets with apples, which distressed poor 
Bryan, and begged them to bring me nothing but 
kisses and keep the eggs, com, etc., for themselves. 

It was while in camp after the battle of Freder- 
icksburg that Bryan, discovering that a hen he 
had procured was laying, spared her life. She 
soon made herself so much at home in Lee's tent 
that each day she laid an egg under his bed. This 
was kept up for weeks at a time. Her roosting- 
place was a baggage wagon and she was present 
with the wagon both at Chancellorsville and at 
Gettysburg. She finally grew too fat to lay, and 
one day, when an unexpected visitor of some im- 
portance dined with Lee, Bryan killed the hen 
for dinner. At another dinner when Lee had 
guests, a plate of cabbage was served in which 
there was a very small piece of bacon. Every one 
out of politeness declined the meat, and that night 
Lee asked for a piece of it The reply was that it 
had only been borrowed for the occasion and had 
already been returned to the owner! 



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a£i.iiinkvaflii^a one occasion. st>mi«ft«T h. h,.l 
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142 ROBERT E. LEE 

had grown somewhat restive under his outburst, 
and he exclaimed, " Colonel Taylor, when I lose 
my temper, don't let it make you angry." 

In spite of his high temper, Lee never spoke in 
harsh terms of his opponents. Perhaps his near- 
est approach to bitter words was contained in 
his letter home when he heard that his beloved 
Arlington had been converted into a cemetery for 
his enemies. Most of the soldiers of the North 
and South could not find enough harsh things to 
say of the enemy, but Lee called them nothing 
worse than " these people," " our friends across 
the river," " General McClellan's people," " Gen- 
eral Grant's people," or " our friends, the enemy." 
One day one of his officers, as he looked at the 
Federal army, said bitterly, "I wish all those 
people were dead." Lee's reply was, " How can 
you say so. General ? Now I wish they were all at 
home attending to their own business." At Gettys- 
burg a wounded Federal soldier shouted, just as 
Lee passed him, " Hurrah for the Union." Lee 
bent toward him, and in a voice full of sympathy 
said, " My son, I hope you will soon be well." 
The soldier said afterwards: " If I live to a thou- 
sand years I shall never forget the expression on 
General Lee's face. There he was defeated, retir- 
ing from a field that had cost him and his cause 
almost their last hope, and yet he stopped to say 
words like those to a wounded soldier of the op- 



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LIFE IN THE ARMY 143 

position who had taunted him as he passed by 1 
As soon as the General had left me, I cried my- 
self to sleep there upon the bloody ground." *• 

Lee with his whole heart longed for peace. He 
had no thirst for glory and no love of battle to 
deceive him as to the real nature of war. He 
wrote his son in 1864, " I have only one mighty 
want, that God in His infinite mercy will send 
our enemies back home." And as the war stretched 
out its dreary length, and hope of success grew 
less and less, he desired the more that victory 
and peace might come quickly. He was sur- 
rounded by want and misery, but he felt that he 
must keep up his spirit and that of those about 
him. Sorrow also touched him heavily. In 1862 
word came to him of the desperate illness of his 
most loved daughter, but he could not go to 
her, and, a little later, the news of her death came. 
This found him attending to important business 
which he could not leave, and he was obliged to 
control his grief until the work was finished. In 
the year following this, his son. General W. H. 
F. Lee, " Rooney," was seriously wounded, then 
captured, and, while in prison, his wife was taken 
seriously ill. Her only hope of recovery lay in the 
release of her husband, and General Custis Lee 
offered to take his brother's place in prison that 
he might be released, but the request w^ not 
granted by the Federal authorities. Soon after- 



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144 ROBERT E. LEE 

wards Mrs. Lee and both of her children died. 
This loss was to Lee as if he had lost another 
daughter, for he had deeply loved his son's wife 
and children, and the thought of the grief his son 
would have to bear distressed him greatly. 

As food and clothes for the army grew scarce, 
Lee became deeply concerned at the sufferings 
of the men, and tried in every way to get supplies. 
It was a trying duty to endeavor to persuade the 
inefficient commissary department of the Con- 
federacy to furnish the army with the necessaries 
of life. He even had to beg for soap. In addition 
to inefficiency, it must be added that the natural 
difficulty of securing supplies was very great on 
account of poor and broken-down railroads and 
the destitution in the South. His men knew of 
his efforts, for Lee was always kind and sympa- 
thetic and the soldiers found it easy to approach 
him. They idolized " Uncle Robert," or " Marse 
Robert," as they called him, and, ragged and 
barefoot as they were, they never lost hope and 
were willing to go anywhere or do anything at 
Lee's command. Lee, knowing this, said : " There 
never were such men in an army before. They 
will go anywhere and do anything, if properly 
led." 

Some military critics have said that Lee's 
greatest fault as a commander was his eagerness 
and audacity in batde. He had absolutely no 



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LIFE IN THE ARMY i^sr 

sense of fear. At the Wilderness and again at 
Gettysburg, he tried to lead a charge in person, 
but his men cried, " Lee to the rear 1" "General 
Lee, go back ! '* and he was forced to give way. 
But in almost every battie he was under fire with 
his men. Once, while reconnoitering in an ex- 
posed position, he ordered his staff back and 
started with them. He suddenly turned back a 
few steps and, stooping, picked up a sparrow 
which had fallen out of its nest and replaced it 
Only once was he near capture. That was in 1862, 
when with his staff he rode suddenly upon a 
squadron of Federal cavalry. Before Lee had been 
seen by them, his staff begged him to retire rap- 
idly while they drew in line across the road. This 
fortunately led the Federal soldiers to suppose it 
the head of a column and they retreated. Lee 
was thus saved from what had seemed almost 
certain capture. 

He was often visited in camp by foreigners who 
were all anxious to see him. Among those who 
came was Colonel Garnet Wolseley of the British 
army, who later became Field Marshal Viscount 
Wolseley. He says of his visit to Lee : — 

He was the ablest general, and to me, seemed the 
greatest man I ever conversed with ; and yet I have 
had the privilege of meeting Von Moltke and Prince 
Bismarck, and at least upon one occasion had a very 
long and intensely interesting conversation with the 



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146 ROBERT E. LEE 

latter. General Lee was one of the few men who ever 
seriously impressed and awed me with their natural 
inherent greatness. Forty years have come and gone 
since our meeting, yet the majesty of his manly bear- 
ing, the genial winning grace, the sweetness of his 
smile and the impressive dignity of his old-fashioned 
style of address, come back to me amongst the most 
cherished of my recollections. . . . His was indeed a 
beautiful character, and of him it might be written : 
''In righteousness he did judge and make War." 

A very real part of Lee's life in the army had 
to do with his horses. He had a number during 
the course of the war and loved them all. His mare, 
Grace Darling, that he had ridden in the Mexican 
War, was too old for service and was sent to the 
White House when Lee left Arlington, and was 
later captured by a Federal soldier. One of his 
horses was Richmond, a big bay given him by 
the citizens of Richmond. He broke down under 
the hard service of the campaign against Pope 
and died. Lee thought him the most beautiful of 
his horses. Brown Roan also died. Ajax, a large 
sorrel, was too tall, and Lee rode him very sel- 
dom. In 1862 General Stuart gave Lee a quiet 
little sorrel mare named Lucy Long. She was 
stolen, but was later recovered. She survived the 
war and was living as late as 1891. 

The best known of Lee's chargers was Traveler," 
and one writer has said that he was almost as well 
known as his master, Sheridan called Traveler a 



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LIFE IN THE ARMY 147 

" chunky gray horse." Lee himself described him 
in the following interesting letter : — 

If I was an artist like you, I would draw a true pic- 
ture of Traveler, representing his fine proportions, 
muscular figure, deep chest and short back, strong 
haunches, flat legs, small head, broad forehead, deli- 
cate ears, quick eye, small feet, and black mane and 
tail. Such a picture would inspire a poet, whose 
genius could then depict his worth and describe his 
endurance of toil, hunger, thirst, heat, cold, and the 
dangers and suffering through which he has passed. 
He could dilate upon his sagacity, affection, and his 
invariable response to every wish of his rider. He 
might even imagine his thoughts through the long 
night marches and days of battle through which he 
has passed. But I am no artist, and could only say 
that he is a Confederate gray. I purchased him in the 
mountains of Virginia in the autumn of 1861, and he 
has been my patient follower ever since, to Georgia, 
the Carolinas, and back to Virginia. He carried me 
through the seven days* battles around Richmond, 
the second Manassas, at Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, 
the last day at Chancellorsville, to Pennsylvania, at 
Gettysburg, and back to the Rappahannock. From 
the commencement of the campaign in 1864 at Orange 
till its close around Petersburg the saddle was scarcely 
off his back, as he passed through the fire of the 
Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, and across 
the James River. He was in almost daily requisition 
in the winter of 1864-65 on the long line of defenses 
from the Chickahominy, north of Richmond and 
Hatcher's Run south of the Appomattox. In the 
campaign of 1865 he bore me from Petersbui^g to the 
final days at Appomattox Court House. 



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148 ROBERT E. LEE 

You must know what a comfort he is to me in my 
present retirement. He is well supplied with equip- 
ments. Two sets have been sent to him from Eng- 
land, one from the ladies of Baltimore, and one was 
made for him in Richmond ; but I think his favorite is 
the American saddle from St. Louis. 

Traveler was of Gray Eagle stock and was bom 
near the Blue Sulphur Springs, now in West 
Virginia, in April, 1857. As a colt he won, in 1859 
and 1860, under the name Jeff Davis, the first 
prize at the Greenbrier Fair, a high honor in that 
land of good horses. He was sixteen hands high, 
weighed eleven hundred and fifty pounds, and 
was unusually strong. His walk was springy and 
he had a bold carriage, holding his head well up. 
He was very gentie, but was also very brave and 
spirited. He loved a battle, and at the Second 
Manassas he grew so spirited that, jumping sud- 
denly, he hurt both of Lee's hands, breaking a 
bone in one. Lee was in an ambulance for a time 
and never again held the reins in the usual way. 
Traveler and Lee were devoted to each other and 
were separated only by death. Lee, mounted on 
him, was a familiar figure in Virginia from 1862 
to 1870, and the picture of them is familiar to the 
world to-day. Lee sat erect in his saddle with his 
weight on the stirrups, and the movements of his 
body were in perfect unison with those of the 
horse under him. Captain Gordon McCabe, the 



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LIFE IN THE ARMY 149 

famous Virginia teacher, said that Traveler, when 
Lee was riding liim, " always stepped as if con- 
scious that he bore a king upon his back." 

During these years Lee's letters and reports 
show how hard was his task of taking care of the 
army and how litde time was left for him to rest 
For three years the whole burden of the army 
rested upon him. To the army he became in a 
sense the cause for which they fought. With him 
they dared anything ; without him they were lost. 
With the years Lee aged rapidly ; illness came to 
him and a loss of strength of which he was fully 
conscious. The war was an experience to test the 
soul and the heart of a man, and a fine light is 
thrown upon Lee's character by the fact that he 
came out of it all with the essential sweetness of 
his spirit untouched. Of him in the struggle, Presi- 
dent Wilson says : — 

It is a notable thing that we see when we look back 
to men of this sort. The Civil War is something which 
we cannot even yet uncover in memory without stir- 
ring embers which may spring into a blaze. There 
was deep color and the ardor of blood in the contest. 
The field is lurid with the light of passion, and yet in 
the midst of that crimson field stands this gentle 
figure, — a man whom you remember, not as a man 
who loved war, but as a man moved by all the high 
impulses of gentle kindness, a man whom men did not 
fear, but loved; a man in whom everybody who ap- 
proached him marked singular gentleness, singular 
sweetness, singular modesty, — none of the pomp of 



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ISO ROBERT E. LEE 

the soldier, but all the simplicity of the gentleman. 
This man is in the center of that field, is the central 
figure of a great tragedy. A singular tragedy it seems 
which centers in a gentleman who loved his fellow 
men and sought to serve them by the power of love, 
and who yet, in serving them with the power of love, 
won the imperishable fame of a great soldier. 



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CHAPTER XII 

AGAINST HEAVY ODDS 

The beginning of the campaign of 1864 found 
the Confederacy in sore straits. Almost all its 
able-bodied men were in the army, and the boys 
were nowenlisting, and, as Grant said, "the seed 
com" was thus taken from the South. In the 
West the Confederate cause had met disaster as 
early as 1862 with the capture of Forts Donelson 
and Henry by Grant, the battle of Shiloh with the 
death of the gallant Albert Sidney Johnston, and 
the fall of Nashville and New Orleans. The loss 
of Vicksburg in 1863 had given the last strong- 
hold on the Mississippi River to the Federal 
forces. The blockade had become so effective 
that only Wilmington, North Carolina, remained 
open, and the blockade-running there steadily 
became more and more difficult. The South was 
like some animal confined in a glass bell from 
which the air is slowly being drawn out. 

In the South the railroads, which had been 
poor enough at the beginning of the war, were 
growing hopelessly inefficient. Rails, cars, and 
engines, as they wore out, could not be replaced. 
Want and distress were widespread, and, in many 



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152 ROBERT E. LEE 

places, supplies of food, even of the simplest sort, 
were scarce. Prices, because of this and because 
of the great quantity of paper money in circula- 
tion, were very high. Country jeans sold for 
twenty-five dollars a yard, calico for thirty dol- 
lars, a pair of cotton socks for ten dollars, a 
wheat-straw hat for twenty dollars, and a bushel 
of meal for twenty-five dollars. There was no tea, 
no coffee, and litde sugar. Salt and soda were 
both very scarce. The following accounts, written 
just at the dose of the war, give a good picture 
of conditions in parts of the South to which the 
Federal armies had not penetrated : — 

Many families of the highest respectability and re- 
finement lived for months on corn-bread, sorghum, 
and peas; meat was seldom on the table, tea and 
coffee never; dried apples and peaches were a luxury; 
children went barefoot through the winter, and ladies 
made their own shoes, and wove their own home- 
spuns ; carpets were cut up into blankets, and window 
curtains and sheets were torn up for hospital uses; 
soldiers' socks were knit day and night, while for 
home service clothes were twice turned, and patches 
were patched again ; and all this continually, and with 
an energy and cheerfulness that may well be called 
heroic. 

Every available bit of paper, every page of old 
account books, whether already written on one side 
or not, and even the fly leaves of printed volumes . . . 
were ferreted out and exhausted. Envelopes were 
made of scraps of wall-paper and from the pictorial 
pages of old books, the white side out, stuck together in 
some cases with the gum that exudes from peach trees. 



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AGAINST HEAVY ODDS 153 

Between the South and the final defeat lay now 
Joseph E. Johnston's army in Georgia, a small 
force in the West, and Lee's army of Northern 
Virginia. There was no new supply of men for 
them to draw from, and every man lost meant a 
permanently decreased force. Opposing these ar- 
mies were strong, well-equipped Federal forces, 
backed by unlimited money and fresh men, as 
well as supplies of every sort in limitless quanti- 
ties. No army in the history of the world to that 
time had ever been so splendidly supplied and 
equipped as the Federal army. In spite of its ter- 
rific losses the North grew steadily in wealth 
and prosperity during the war. Also it suffered 
scarcely at all from the presence of armies, since 
the South was the battle-ground of the war. 

Grant's plan of campaign provided that each 
of the Federal armies should try to hold the 
attention of the entire Confederacy and thus 
prevent any attempt of one Confederate army to 
reinforce another. He planned that the Army 
of the Potomac should move toward Richmond 
from the north, and said that he proposed "to 
fight it out along that line if it takes all summer." 
General Butler was to come up the James from 
Fortress Monroe, and it was believed that by 
these methods the summer would see the close of 
the war. 

Early in May Grant, with an army of one hun- 



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154 ROBERT E. LEE 

dred and twenty thousand men, crossed the Rap- 
idan and entered the Wilderness^ a region so 
named because of its tangled thickets of pine, 
scrub-oaky hazel, and chinquapin. Here there 
were hardly any inhabitants and only two public 
roads. As soon as the Federal army had got well 
into the Wilderness, Lee attacked it, and there 
followed a terrible batde which lasted two days. 
Longstreet was once more late, and it is possible 
that he thus prevented a complete victory for 
Lee. The horror of the batde was many times 
increased by the furious burning of the woods, 
together with the dead and wounded, the under- 
growth having caught from the firing of the 
guns. For many days a heavy pall of smoke 
hung over all the country. 

In spite of his great losses and defeat, Grsuit 
did not retreat He had all the tenacity of a bull- 
dog and did not consider such a thing. Instead, 
by a flank movement, he pressed on toward 
Richmond. Lee then fell back and met him at 
Spottsylvania Court House, where, between May 
8 and May 13, a series of furiously contested bat- 
tles occured in which Grant failed to break the 
Confederate lines. Here was the famous " Bloody 
Angle," first in the possession of one and then 
of the other side during the whole conflict, and 
noted for the frenzied fighting which took place 
there. Grant, upon receiving reinforcements. 



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AGAINST HEAVY ODDS 155 

again attacked, but without success. He then 
again moved by the left flank, but at Cold Har- 
bor Lee succeeded in establishing himself in such 
a position that another flank movement by Grant 
would carry the Federal army beyond Richmond. 
Just at this time Stuart was killed, and his death 
meant a heavy loss to Lee and to the Confeder- 
ate cause. On June 3 Grant tried to break the 
Confederate lines by direct assault and lost twelve 
thousand men in twenty minutes. This crushing 
disaster ended the campaign, one remarkable 
both for the brilliance of Lee's defense and for 
the splendid energy of Grant's attacks, which 
last would have been impossible in the face of 
such losses but for the superb bravery of the Fed- 
eral troops. Since crossing the Rapidan Grant 
had lost more than sixty thousand men, or al- 
most as many as Lee's whole army. Lee had lost 
twenty thousand, and he could ill afford the loss, 
since there were none to take the places of those 
who had been killed. The men in the Confeder- 
ate army had fought a large part of the time on 
a daily ration of three crackers and a small piece 
of salt pork, and they were now almost exhausted. 
Grant now abandoned his plan of campaign 
and, skillfully swinging his army across the 
James, moved on Richmond from the south. At 
Petersburg, twenty miles from Richmond, there 
were strong fortifications which had been erected 



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156 ROBERT E. LEE 

under Lee's orders in 1862, and into them Lee at 
once moved his army. Attempts of the Federals 
to carry them by storm failed, and a plan to 
mine them resulted in an engagement known as 
the " Battle of the Crater " in which the Federal 
losses were greater than those of the Confeder- 
ates. Grant then setded down for a] siege. He 
threw up the most powerful fortifications used 
during the war, and then succeeded in cutting 
the railroad running from Petersburg south, by 
which the Confederates received most of their 
supplies. 

The further defense of Richmond, from a mili- 
tary standpoint, was a mistake, and Lee advised 
giving it up. But President Davis regarded the 
continued possession of the capital as of first im- 
portance to the Confederate cause and would not 
consent to its abandonment. Lee, like the good 
soldier he was, sought to make the best defense 
possible. He knew, of course, that the strength 
of his army would be lessened after standing a 
siege at Petersburg. He saw, too, the difficulty 
of combining with the other Confederate armies 
when such a combination should become neces- 
sary, that being, as he said, " a mere question of 
time." 

In the meantime General Butler had been, as 
Grant said, "botded up" at Bermuda Hundred 
by General Magruder. The Federal forces in the 



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AGAINST HEAVY ODDS 157 

Valley, sent there to cut off supplies from Rich- 
mond, had met with spirited resistance. In the 
battle of New Market even the little boys from 
the Virginia Military Institute took part in the 
fighting and gained a victory. The Federals were 
finally driven out of the Valley by General Eariy, 
who then invaded Maryland and finally took up 
a position in front of Washington and in sight 
of the dome of the Capitol. Hearing that fresh 
troops had come against him in large numbers, 
he succeeded in retreating in good order. Later 
in July one of his subordinates burned the town 
of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The operations 
of the Confederates had become so vigorous that 
Grant sent Sheridan into the Valley, ordering 
him to destroy everything that could support an 
army, thus preventing Early's staying there, and 
also any future Confederate menace to Washing- 
ton. Several battles were fought and Early was 
at last driven from the Valley. Sheridan, in car- 
rying out Grant's orders, burned two thousand 
bams filled with grain and seventy mills filled 
with flour and wheat, and drove off most of the 
cattle and other stock. He then reported that " a 
crow flying across the Valley will have to carry 
its own rations." 

The siege of Petersburg, which lasted the rest 
of the summer of 1864 and all of the following 
winter, brought intense suffering to the army. 



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158 ROBERT E. LEE 

Food was scarcer than ever, and all the soldiers 
were in rags and most of them without shoes 
through the bitter cold weather. The daily ration 
at best was one pound of flour and one half a 
pound of beef, but there were sometimes days 
and days together when the beef was lacking. 
Lee had only thirty-five thousand men to defend 
a line thirty-five miles long, and there was no 
hope of any important reinforcements. 

In the West the Federals under Thomas had 
decisively defeated Hood, who had replaced John- 
ston in command. Sherman, after his march to 
the sea, captured Savannah, and later, as spring 
opened, moved north, capturing Charleston and 
Columbia, and invading North Carolina. As his 
army moved it stripped the whole country bare 
of food and all valuable movable property. Con- 
fronting him was Johnston, who was again in 
command, with a fairly large army. On January 
I5> 1865, Fort Fisher, at the mouth of the Cape 
Fear below Wilmington, fell, and the last gate- 
way between the South and the world outside 
was closed. 

Grant began the campaign of 1865 at the end 
of January and spread his force out south of 
Petersburg to cut off Lee's retreat and also his 
sources of supplies. Lee now wished to abandon 
immediately both Richmond and Petersburg and 
join Johnston, but he was forced to give up the 



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AGAINST HEAVY ODDS 159 

plan because his half-starved horses could not 
pull the cannon and wagons over the soft roads. 
On January 31 Lee was made general-in-chief of 
all the armies of the Confederacy. He accepted 
and took charge at once. Had this been done 
two years before, great results might have fol- 
lowed, but matters had gone too far for him to 
be able to accomplish an3rthing through his new 
power. Shortly afterwards he recommended the 
enlistment of negroes in the army, and Congress 
consented to this, but there was only time to en- 
roll a very few, far too few to help the cause. 

Late in March an effort on Lee's part to break 
Grant's line was partially successful, but men 
were lacking to follow up the advantage. Lee 
had already seen that Richmond must soon be 
abandoned and had notified President Davis of 
the fact. Supplies had been sent to Danville, a 
little town on the southern border of Virginia, so 
that Lee could leave his lines rapidly and, join- 
ing Johnston, with their combined forces attack 
Sherman before Grant could bring help. Grant 
foresaw this plan, and on April i attacked Lee at 
Five Forks, where the Confederate line was so 
weak that the men were seven yards apart. Lee 
at once notified Davis that he would move south 
toward Amelia Court House, where he had di- 
rected the War Department to have an abun- 
dance of supplies for his men. Richmond was at 



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i6o ROBERT E. LEE 

once evacuated and the Federal forces entered it 
just at the time that Grant was entering Peters- 
burg. Here Grant was joined by Lincoln who 
later went to Richmond. The Confederates had 
in the meantime gone to Danville, which Davis 
reached on April 5. 

Lee moved his troops as rapidly as possible to 
Amelia Court House, and was followed closely 
by Grant's columns. The Confederates, number- 
ing less than thirty thousand men, were flushed 
with the joy of getting out of the trenches into the 
open fields, and they eagerly hoped that victory 
might yet be theirs. But when they reached Ame- 
lia Court House, there were no supplies there. 
Nearly twenty-four hours of precious time were 
lost in attempting to gather food and forage 
enough to enable the army to push on. There 
was an abundance of both at Danville, but here 
there was practically nothing. The hungry army 
could be furnished with nothing better than raw 
corn, and of that only one handful to each man, 
but not a man complained. 

In the meantime, thanks to this delay, Sheridan 
had been able to place a force of cavalry across 
the proposed line of retreat to Danville. This 
forced Lee to turn westward toward Farmville, in 
the hope of being able to effect a junction with 
Johnston on the North Carolina line. At Sailor's 
Creek part of the army was cut off, but the main 



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AGAINST HEAVY ODDS i6i 

body pushed on to Farmville, where on April 7 
a small supply of food was secured after a Fed- 
eral force in the path had been repulsed. All this 
took time, and Sheridan reached and captured 
Appomattox Court House, the place at which 
Lee had counted on getting more supplies. Lee 
did not learn of this until April 9. 



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CHAPTER XIII 

APPOMATTOX 

Lee had now a choice between two courses 
only. Either he must disperse his men and send 
them south to continue resistance at a later time 
and so keep up hostilities indefinitely ; or he must 
surrender his beloved army, which would mean 
that the cause of the Confederacy would be hope- 
lessly and finally lost The first plan was generally 
expected. All of Europe looked to see the war 
drag on and on through fighting by scattered par- 
ties, such as had taken place during the Revolu- 
tion throughout Georgia and the Carolinas. In the 
South most of the people refused to believe in 
the possibility of final defeat and desired that the 
struggle should go on, no matter how long it 
took to reach a victorious end and independence. 
President Davis, by proclamation on April 4, an- 
nounced this as the policy of the Government, 
and the Federal leaders greatly feared that it 
might be carried out. There is no doubt that in 
this way the contest could have been indefinitely 
prolonged, as in the case of the Boer War, but at 
the cost of frightful loss of life and at the greater 
cost of all humanity on both sides. 



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APPOMATTOX 163 

The very thought of surrender broke Lee's 
heart On April 7 he was approached by several 
of his corps commanders who told him that the 
army could not hold out any longer. Surrender 
was suggested. Lee's eyes flashed and he said, 
" Surrender I I have too many good fighting men 
for that I" 

On April 7 also Grant wrote Lee and pointed 
out the hopelessness of further resistance, and, 
for the sake of putting an end to bloodshed, sug- 
gested that he surrender. Lee, in reply, declined 
to admit that his cause was hopeless, but asked 
Grant what terms would be offered. The next 
day Grant wrote that, since peace was his great 
desire, the only condition he would insist upon 
was that the officers and men surrendered should 
be disqualified from taking up arms against the 
United States until exchanged. He also sug- 
gested meeting Lee to arrange the terms of sur- 
render, but Lee replied that he had not proposed 
surrender, but, desiring peace, he wished to learn 
how General Grant proposed to effect it, and 
suggested a meeting at ten o'clock the next 
day. Grant replied that, as he had no power to 
treat for peace, a meeting could do no good, and 
continued : — 

I will state however that I am equally desirous of 
peace with yourself, and the whole North entertains 
the same feeling. The terms upon which peace can 



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i64 ROBERT E. LEE 

be had are well understood. By the South laying 
down their arms, they would hasten that most de- 
sirable event, save thousands of human lives, and 
hundreds of millions of property not yet destroyed. 
Seriously hoping that all of our difficulties may be 
settled without the loss of another life, I subscribe 
myself, etc., 

U. S. Grant, Lieutenant General, 
General R. E. Lee. 

Lee had hoped that a general peace might be 
arranged, but he now saw that Grant would not 
discuss this. On the evening of the 8th, Lee di- 
rected a last attack, and early the next morning 
his troops with dash attacked Sheridan and drove 
his cavalry back in confusion. But timely Federal 
reinforcements came to Sheridan's aid and the 
way of the Confederates as an army was finally 
barred. When Lee saw the situation, he said, 
"There is nothing left but to go to General Grant, 
and I would rather die a thousand deaths." At 
this one of his staff exclaimed, " Oh, General, 
what will history say of the surrender of the army 
in the field?" Lee replied: "Yes, I know they 
will say hard things of us ; they will not under- 
stand how we were overwhelmed by numbers ; 
but that is not the question, Colonel ; the ques- 
tion is, is it right to surrender this army? If it is 
right, then I will take all the responsibility." He 
had already talked it over with several of his 
officers. General Alexander had urged him to dis- 



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APPOMATTOX 165 

perse his army for the purpose of further resist- 
ance, and had received this notable reply : — 

No! General Alexander, that will not do. You 
must remember we are a Christian people. We have 
fought this fight as long as, and as well as, we knew 
how. We have been defeated. For us as a Christian 
people, there is now but one course to pursue. We 
must accept the situation ; these men must go home 
and plant a crop, and we must proceed to build up 
our country on a new basis. We cannot have recourse 
to the methods you suggest. 

But surrender was, even if right, a bitter task 
for Lee. " How easily," he said, " I could get rid 
of this and be at rest. I have only to ride along 
the line and all will be over. But it is our duty 
to live. What will become of the women and 
children of the South if we are not here to pro- 
tect them?" So Lee now wrote Grant, asking 
for a meeting to arrange terms for the surrender 
of the Army of Northern Virginia. Grant agreed, 
and the two met at the McLean house, which was 
of brick, set back in the trees, with rosebushes 
dotting the lawn. Lee and Colonel Marshall, one 
of his staff, were first to arrive. Traveler was 
freed of his bridle and turned loose to graze, a 
great treat after what had gone before. Shortly 
afterwards Grant with his staff came up, and 
Grant joined Lee. The appearance of the two 
men was in striking contrast. General Horace 
Porter, an eye-witness of the scene, thus described 



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166 ROBERT E. LEE 

Lee, who, in honor of his last appearance as 
commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, had 
put on the very ]yest clothes he possessed: — 

He wore a new uniform of Confederate gray, 
buttoned up to the throat, and a handsome sword 
and sash. The sword was of exceedingly fine. work- 
manship. It had been presented to him by some ladies 
in England who sympathized with his cause. He had 
a thick head of hair, except in front, where it had be- 
come a little thin. His spurs were handsome and had 
very large rowels. He wore a pair of top boots which 
seemed to be perfectly new and which were stitched 
with red silk. His gray hat, matching in color his uni- 
form, and a pair of gray gaundets, apparently new, 
had been thrown on the table by his side. 

Of Grant, General Porter wrote : — 

General Grant was forty-three years of age, quite 
slim, and weighed only one hundred and thirty 
pounds. He was five feet, eight inches in height, with 
shoulders slightly stooped. He wore a soldier's blouse 
and soldier's trousers, with nothing to indicate his 
rank but the shoulder straps of a lieutenant-general. 
His slouch hat was lying on the table. He had on a 
pair of partly worn brown-colored thread gloves, 
which he took off soon after he went into the room. 
He was without sword, sash, or spurs. He wore a 
pair of ordinary top boots with his trousers inside. 
These as well as his clothes were spattered with mud. 
His hair was a dark brown with no trace of gray. 

At meeting, the two generals shook hands cor- 
dially, and at once began to speak of their previ- 
ous meeting in Mexico. Some time was passed 



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APPOMATTOX 167 

in this way until at last Lee recalled the real ob- 
ject of their meeting to Grant, who had delicately 
refrained from alluding to it. Lee said : " General, 
I am here to ascertain the terms upon which you 
will accept the surrender of the Army of Northern 
Virginia; but it is due to proper candor and 
frankness that I should say at once that I am not 
willing to discuss, even, any terms incompatible 
with preserving the honor of my army, which I 
am determined to maintain at all hazards and to 
the last extremity." Grant replied : " I have no 
idea of proposing dishonorable terms. General, 
but I should like to know what terms you would 
consider satisfactory." Lee answered that he felt 
that the terms offered by Grant in his letter were 
fair enough and asked that they be put in writ- 
ing. Grant immediately asked for his order book 
and rapidly wrote the following letter : — 

Gen. R. E. Lee, 

Commanding C. S. A. 

Appomattox C. H. April 9, 1865. 

In accordance with the substance of my letter to 
you of the 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender 
of the Army of Northern Virginia on the following 
terms, to wit: 

Rolls of all the officers arid men to be made in du- 
plicate, one copy to be given to an officer designated 
by me, the other to be retained by such officers as you 
may designate. 

The officers to give their individual parole not to 



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168 ROBERT E. LEE 

take arms against the Government of the United 
States until properly exchanged; and each company 
or regimental commander to sign parole for the men 
of their commands. The arms, artillery, and public 
property to be packed and stacked and turned over 
to the officers appointed by me to receive them. 

This will not embrace the side arms of the officers, 
nor their private horses, nor their baggage. 

This done each officer and man will be allowed to 
return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United 
States authorities so long as they observe their parole, 
and the laws in force where they may reside. 
Very respectfully, 

U. S. Grant, LdeutenatU-General. 

Lee put on his glasses and read it slowly, and 
as he finished, said, ''This will have a very 
happy effect upon my army." Grant asked for 
suggestions, and Lee called his attention to the 
fact that the Confederate cavalrymen owned their 
own horses, and asked if they would be allowed 
to keep them. Grant at first said that only offi- 
cers might do so, but, noting Lee's keen disap- 
pointment, he added that he knew crops could 
not be raised without horses, and so, without 
changing the written order, he would give in- 
structions to his officers to let the Confederate 
soldiers keep their horses. Lee immediately 
showed his relief and said : ** This will have the 
best possible effect upon the men. It will be very 
gratifying, and will do much toward conciliat- 
ing our people." While the letter was being 



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APPOMATTOX 169 

copied in ink, Lee had this letter prepared and 
signed it: — 

Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia, 
April 9, 1865. 

General: — I have received your letter of this date 
containing the terms of surrender of the Army of 
Northern Virginia, as proposed by you. As they are 
substantially the same as those expressed in your 
letter of the 8th inst., they are accepted. I will pro- 
ceed to designate the proper officers to carry the 
stipulations into effect. 

Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

R. E. Lee. 

Grant now offered to send twenty-five thou- 
sand rations to Lee's men who had been living 
only on parched com. When he noticed that 
Lee wore his sword, he apologized for the ab- 
sence of his, saying, " I started out from camp 
several days ago without my sword, and as I 
have not seen my headquarters baggage since, 
I have been riding about without my side- 
arms." 

At nearly four o'clock in the afternoon the 
interview closed. Lee shook hands with Grant, 
bowed to the other Federal officers in the room, 
and went out on the porch. As he stood waiting 
and looking over toward the gallant army he 
had just surrendered, he struck his hands to- 
gether three times and then mounted his horse 



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I70 ROBERT E. LEE 

and rode away to his men. At his appearance 
the "rebel yell," as given by the Army of North- 
em Virginia, sounded for the last time. The men 
crowded around him to touch his hand and hear 
his voice once more. His words to them were 
brief. " Men," he said, " we have fought through 
the war together. I have done my best for you. 
My heart is too full to say more." 

The behavior of both Grant and Lee during 
that momentous meeting was fine in every way. 
Both hated anything theatrical and their inter- 
view was marked throughout by its utter simplic- 
ity. Grant showed no elation and said himself 
of the surrender : " My own feelings, which had 
been quite jubilant on receipt of Lee's letter, 
were sad and depressed. I felt like anything 
rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who 
had fought so long and so valiantly and had suf- 
fered so much for a cause." He sought in every 
way to save Lee and his army from humiliation 
and, by his generosity, he won the gratitude 
and affection of the whole South. Lee, though 
in deep dejection, was calm, dignified, and, as 
usual, impressive. He proved here and in his 
later life the truth of his own saying, " Human 
virtue ought to be equal to human calamity." 
General Morris Schaff, a Federal officer, referring 
to the surrender, at which he was present, said of 
i^ee I — ^ 



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APPOMATTOX 171 

He was one who, though famous, was not honey- 
combed with ambition or tainted with cunning or 
cant, and though a soldier and wearing soldier's 
laurels, yet never craved or sought honors except as 
they bloomed on deeds done for the glory of his law- 
fully constituted authority; in short a soldier to 
whom the sense of duty was a gospel and a man of the 
world whose only rule of life was that life should be 
upright and stainless. I cannot but think that Provi- 
dence meant, through him, to prolong the ideal of the 
gentleman in the world. ... It is easy to see why 
Lee has become the embodiment of one of the world's 
ideals, that of the soldier, the Christian, and the 
gentleman. And from the bottom of my heart I 
thank Heaven ... for the comfort of having a char- 
acter like Lee's to look at. 

As soon as the news of the surrender reached 
the Federal army, the firing of salutes began. 
Grant, full of that noble! generosity which distin- 
guished his conduct throughout the whole period 
of the surrender, ordered the firing stopped with 
this message, "The war is over, the rebels are 
again our countrymen, and the best way of show- 
ing our rejoicing will be to abstain from all such 
demonstration." On this principle he refrained 
from going to Richmond and from entering the 
Confederate lines. The lofty standard of consider- 
ation and courtesy thus set by Grant was lived up 
to later by his officers. On April 12, when Gen- 
eral Chamberlain, of Maine, received the sur- 
render of the Confederate arms and colors, the 



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172 ROBERT E. LEE 

remnant of the Confederate army struck their 
tents, seized their muskets, unfurled and elevated 
their flags, and, for the last time, formed that 
"thin gray line" which they had made world 
renowned. As the column came up a bugle 
sounded and the whole Federal line came to 
" carry arms," the marching salute. It was a fine 
tribute of brave men to brave men and was part 
of the cementing of the Union which was to fol- 
low war. General Chamberlain, in describing its 
reception by the Confederates, who were headed 
by General John B. Gordon, says: — 

Gordon catches the sound of shifting arms, and, 
catching the meaning, wheels superbly, making with 
himself and his horse one uplifted figure, with pro- 
found salutation as he drops the point of his sword to 
his boot, then facing to his own command gives word 
for his successive brigades to pass us with the same 
position of the manual — honor answering honor. 
On our part, not a sound of trumpet more, nor roll of 
drum; not a cheer, not a word nor whisper of vain- 
glorying, nor motion of men, standing again at the 
order; but an awed stillness rather and breath holding 
as if at the passing of the dead. 

There thus passed away one of the most won- 
derful armies in the world, an army to whose 
valor its opponents have consistently borne wit- 
ness. Hooker said, "That army has by discipline 
alone acquired a character for steadiness and effi- 
ciency unsurpassed, in my judgment, in ancient 



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APPOMATTOX 173 

or modem times." Swinton, the historian of the 
Army of the Potomac, says : — 

Nor can there fail to arise the image of that other 
army that was the adversary of the Army of the Po- 
tomac, and who that once looked upon it can ever 
forget it? — that army of tattered uniforms and 
bright muskets — that body of incomparable in- 
fantry, the Army of Northern Virginia, which for 
four years carried the revolt on its bayonets, oppos- 
ing a constant front to the mighty concentration of 
power brought against it, which, receiving terrible 
blows, did not fail to give the like, and which, vital 
in all its parts, died only with its annihilation. 

And Charles Francis Adams, the son of that 
Charles Francis Adams who, while Minister to 
England, proudly answered Englishmen who 
sought to twit him with the victories of the Con- 
federates, " They, also, are my countrymen," says : 
" My next contention is that Lee and the Army 
of Northern Virginia never sustained defeat 
Finally, it is true, succumbing to exhaustion, to 
the end they were not overthrown in fight" As 
commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, 
Lee's place in military history is secure. Colonel 
Henderson, the English military critic, says, " Lee 
stands out as one of the greatest soldiers of all 
times." Again, he spoke of Lee as "undoubtedly 
one of the greatest if not the greatest soldier who 
ever spoke the English tongue." Colonel Liver- 
more calls him " the greatest general of the day." 



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174 ROBERT E. LEE 

Captain Batdne, in closing an estimate of him, 
says, ''Such as he was, brave, chivalrous, and 
conscientious to a biult, he will remain the most 
attractive personality among American heroes 
and one of the most feunous of the world's great 
generals." Theodore Roosevelt says, "Lee will 
undoubtedly rank as without any exception the 
greatest of all the great captains that the Eng- 
lish-speaking people have brought forUi — and 
this although the last and chief of his antagonists 
may claim to stand as the full equal of Marlbor- 
ough and Wellington." And Colonel Dodge says, 
" A dispassionate judgment places Robert E. Lee 
on the level of such captains asTurenne, Eugene, 
Marlborough, Wellington, and Von Moltke." 

There is no need to add to the already lengthy 
discussion as to whether Lee or Grant was the 
greater general. Both were superbly great, and 
no finer memory has been left to Americans than 
the meeting of the two at Appomattox as the 
leaders of two noble American armies struggling 
for conflicting theories of government 

On the day following the surrender Lee and 
Grant had a short interview. A number of Fed- 
eral officers who had known Lee called also. 
General Meade, who had known him well in the 
Corps of Engineers, was among them, and Lee 
said to him, " Meade, years are telling on you, 
your hair is getting quite gray." "Ah, General 



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ROBERT E. LEE 
(From the painting by Pioto) 



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T^/^^*/? 



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APPOMATTOX 175 

Lee," was Meade's reply, " it is not the work of 
years ; you are responsible for my gray hairs." 

On that last morning-, Lee published to his 
troops this farewell address: — 

Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia, 
Affril ID, 1865. 

After four years of arduous service, marked by un- 
surpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of North- 
ern Virginia has been compelled to yield to over- 
whelming numbers and resources. I need not tell the 
survivors of so many hard fought battles, who have 
remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented 
to this result from no distrust of them; but feeling 
that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing 
that could compensate for the loss that would have 
attended the continuation of the contest, I have de- 
termined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose 
past services have endeared them to their country- 
men*. By the terms of the agreement, officers and 
men can return to their homes, and remain there 
until exchanged. 

You wilji take with you the satisfaction that pro- 
ceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully per- 
formed; and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will 
extend to you His blessing and protection. With an 
unceasing admiration for your constancy and devo- 
tion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of 
your kind and generous consideration of myself, I 
bid you an affectionate farewell. 

R. E. Lee, General. 

On the same day he rode away from his 
army, setting his face toward Richmond and his 



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176 ROBERT E. LEE 

loved ones there. An eye-witness of his arrival 
in the city gives the following account of his 
return: — 

Next morning a small group of horsemen appeared 
on the further side of the pontoons. By some strange 
intuition it was known that General Lee was among 
them, and a crowd collected all along the route he 
would take, silent and bare-headed. There was no 
excitement, no hurrahing; but as the great chief 
passed, a deep, loving murmur, greater than these, 
rose from the very hearts of the crowd. Taking off 
his hat and simply bowing his head, the man great in 
adversity passed silently to his own door; it closed 
upon him, and his people had seen him for the last 
time in his battle harness. 



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CHAPTER XIV 

AFTER THE WAR 

After a short stay in Richmond with his fam- 
ily, Lee began to think of the future. His chief 
desire was to go from the noisy city to the peace 
and quiet of the country. He loved the country 
and was never really content away from it. He 
said, " I am looking for some littie quiet home 
in the woods, where I can procure shelter and my 
daily bread, if permitted by the victor." Crowds 
of people flocked to see him, and the burden be- 
came too great for his good. Accordingly, some 
time after the surrender he moved into a rented 
house in Powhatan County and there stayed for 
the rest of the spring and summer. 

In the meantime, of course, the Confederacy 
had collapsed. Johnston had surrendered to Sher- 
man in North Carolina the week after Appomat- 
tox, and Kirby Smith had soon after surrendered 
the Confederate forces in the West President 
Davis had been captured and was confined at 
Fortress Monroe. Lincoln had been assassinated, 
and the country was thus deprived of the soften- 
ing influence of his great soul and tender heart. 
He, like Lee, had no hatred or bitterness in his 



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178 ROBERT E. LEE 

•make-up, and above all things he wished for a 
genuine reconciliation of the two sections. For 
this reason he had determined that there should 
ibe no punishment of Confederates if he could 
prevent it. The South lost the one friend that 
could help it in its distress, and the Nation lost a 
guiding hand that would have prevented many 
disastrous mistakes during the next few years. 

He was succeeded as President by Andrew 
Johnson of Tennessee. On May 29, 1865, Presi- 
dent Johnson issued a proclamation offering par- 
don to the late Confederates if they would take 
the oath of allegiance to the United States ; but 
he provided that those who held high rank or who 
had left the service of the United States to join 
the Confederacy could receive pardon only after 
a special application for it 

In June a grand jury at Norfolk, composed of 
both negroes and white people, indicted Lee for 
treason along with Jefferson Davis. Of this Lee 
said: "I have heard of the indictment by the 
grand jury at Norfolk, and have made up my 
mind to let the authorities take their course. I 
have no wish to avoid any trial the Government 
may order, and I cannot flee." But fearless as 
he was as to the result of any trial, there was an- 
other thing to be considered. By the terms of 
the surrender Lee and his army were not liable 
to trial, but if Lee consented to standing trial, it 



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AFTER THE WAR 179 

would mean much trouble, expense, and possibly 
danger to his men. So he at once wrote Grant 
the following letter: — 

Richmond, VnciNiA, June 13, 1865. 
Lieut.-Gen. U. S. Grant, 

Commanding the Armies of ike United States, 

General: — Upon reading the President's proclama- 
tion of the 29th ult., I came to Richmond to ascer- 
tain what was proper or required of me to do, when I 
learned that, with others, I was to be indicted for 
treason by the grand jury at Norfolk. I had supposed 
that the officers and men of the Army of Northern 
Virginia were, by the terms of their surrender, pro- 
tected by the United States Government from 
molestation so long as they conformed to its condi- 
tions. I am ready to meet any charges that may be 
preferred against me, and do not wish to avoid trial; 
but, if I am correct as to the protection granted by 
my parole, and am not to be prosecuted, I desire to 
comply with the President's proclamation, and there- 
fore enclose the required application, which I request, 
in that event, may be acted on. 

I am, with great respect. 

Your obedient servant, 

R. E. Lee. 

[Enclosure] 

Richmond, Virginia, June 13, 1865. 
His Excellency Andrew Johnson, 
President of the United States. 
Sir: — Being excluded from the provisions of 
amnesty and pardon contained in the proclamation 
of the 29th ult., I hereby apply for the benefits and 
full restoration of all rights and privileges extended 



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i8o ROBERT E. LEE 

to those included in its terms. I graduated at the 
Military Academy at West Point in June, 1829; re- 
signed from the United States Army, April, 1861; 
was a general in the Confederate Army, and included 
in the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, 
April 9, 1865. 

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, 
Your obedient servant, 

R. E. Lee. 

Grant replied at once that Lee's opinion of the 
case was correct and told him that he had for- 
warded the letter to the Secretary of War with 
the following communication: — 

In my opinion the officers and men paroled at Ap- 
pomattox Court House, and since, upon the same 
terms given to Lee, cannot be tried for treason so 
long as they observe their parole. This is my under- 
standing. Good faith, as well as true policy, dictates 
that we should observe the conditions of the conven- 
tion. Bad faith on the part of the government, or 
a construction of that convention subjecting the 
officers to trial for treason, would produce a feeling 
of insecurity in the minds of all paroled officers and 
men. If so disposed they might even regard such an 
infraction of terms by the Government as an entire 
release from all obligations on their part. I will state 
further that the terms granted by me met with the 
hearty approval of the President at the time, and of 
the country generally. The action of Judge Under- 
wood, in Norfolk, has already had an injurious effect, 
and I would ask that he be ordered to quash all in- 
dictments found against paroled prisoners of war, and 
to desist from the further prosecution of them. 



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AFTER THE WAR i8i 

Grant did not stop with this. He recommended 
Lee's pardon to the President and went to see 
him about the indictment. He threatened to re- 
sign his command of the army unless the pro- 
ceedings were stopped. He said : — 

I have made certain terms with Lee — the best and 
only terms. If I had told him and his army that their 
liberty would be invaded, that they would be open to 
arrest, trial, and execution for treason, Lee would 
never have surrendered and we should have lost 
many lives in destroying him. Now, my terms of sur- 
render were according to military law, and so long as 
General Lee observes his parole I will never consent 
to his arrest. I will resign the command of the army 
rather than execute any order directing me to arrest 
Lee or any of his commanders, so long as they obey 
the laws. 

Senator Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, one of 
the most eminent lawyers in the United States, 
when he heard of Lee's indictment, wrote at once 
offering to defend him. But the indictment was 
dropped, though President Johnson paid no atten- 
tion to Lee's application for pardon. However, on 
Christmas Day, 1868, just before the close of his 
term of office, he issued a proclamation, pardoning 
all the Confederates who were still unpardoned, 
including not only Lee, but Jefferson Davis. 

To Lee the question of the way he should sup- 
port his family was, of course, of the greatest im- 
portance. Most of his personal property, never 



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i82 ROBERT E. LEE 

large, had been swept away, and there remained 
to him and his wife only their plantations, not of 
great value in the confused years following the 
war. Lee was too old, also, to undertake the hard 
work required to make them profitable. There 
were many offers made him, during the next few 
years, of houses, estates, money, and positions. 
One English admirer offered him a valuable es- 
tate in England and an annuity of three thousand 
pounds, but he replied, " I must abide the fortunes 
and share the fate of my people." He was urged 
to become the president of a New York company 
for Southern trade, with a salary of fifty thousand 
dollars, but he again replied : " I cannot leave my 
present position. I have a self-imposed task. I 
have led the young men of the South in battle. I 
must teach their sons to discharge their duties in 
life." An insurance company offered him a salary 
of ten thousand dollars. He declined on the ground 
that his knowledge of the business was not suffi- 
cient to enable him to discharge the duties of 
the position. The answer was that there were no 
duties; his name alone was worth that salary. 
Lee's eyes flashed, and he replied that his name 
was not for sale. One of his daughters said, 
" They are offering my father everything except 
the only thing he will accept — a place to earn 
honest bread while engaged in some useful 
work." 



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AFTER THE WAR 183. 

Finally, in August, 1865, Lee was offered the 
presidency of Washington College, in Lexington, 
Virginia, with a salary of fifteen hundred dollars. 
This college had been started as " Liberty Hall 
Academy" in 1749, and was the first classical 
school in the Valley of Virginia. Washington en- 
dowed it, and its name was changed in his honor 
to Washington College. In 1870, after Lee's death 
and in his memory, its name was again changed, 
this time to Washington and Lee University. 
When Lee was offered the presidency the college 
had been almost ruined by the war. Its buildings, 
books, and apparatus had all suffered at the hands 
of the invading armies, and its endowment was, 
for the time being at least, practically worthless. 
There were but four professors left, and only forty 
students were present. The trustees felt much 
hesitation over Lee's election, feeling that he 
might think the position too unimportant and the 
salary too small for him to accept. But the mem- 
ber of the board of trustees appointed to see Lee 
on the subject, having, in honor of his distin- 
guished mission, borrowed a suit of clothes that 
was not ragged, set out boldly and laid the case 
before Lee. Lee, on his part, hesitated for other 
reasons than those which the trustees had feared. 
He did not feel strong enough to teach and he 
did not know whether the college could afford to 
employ a president simply for the duties of that 



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i84 ROBERT E. LEE 

office. Since he was unpardoned, he thought his 
connection with the college might injure it. On 
the other hand, he longed to help in the cause of 
education in the South, a cause which he felt was 
of vital importance to the people of the section. 
He set these facts before the trustees, and, when 
they still urged him to accept, he did so. 

Lee's four years at West Point as superintend- 
ent had given him some preparation for work of 
the kind that now lay before him. In the latter 
part of September he mounted Traveler and rode 
to Lexington to make preparations for moving 
his family there. On October 2 he was inaugur- 
ated as president with the utmost simplicity and 
at once took up his duties. As he saw it, his po- 
sition must be something more than a name, and 
for the rest of his life he gave the best of himself 
to the upbuilding of Washington College. He 
was at his office regularly, carefully examined all 
the many letters, answered most of them person- 
ally, and constantly visited the classrooms both 
for recitations and examinations. He planned a 
great educational extension within the college to 
be brought about by the development of the sci- 
entific courses. Under him the institution grew 
until the number of students was greater than in 
any other Southern college, and the number of 
professors was steadily increased. Large gifts 
of money came to it because of Lee's connection 



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AFTER THE WAR 185 

with it, and there is no doubt that its later pros- 
perity began in this way. Lee did not confine 
himself to office work. He personally supervised 
the repairing of the buildings and the beautifying 
of the grounds. As this example was quickly fol- 
lowed by the Virginia Military Institute and by 
the residents of the town, the results of Lee's 
activities along this line were soon apparent. 

Lee's relations to the students were especially 
fine. He had no wish to introduce military train- 
ing, but rather inclined against that discipline. 
He urged the professors to make few rules and only 
those they were able to enforce. To the boys, many 
of whom were no longer young in experience, since 
many of them had fought through the war and 
were seasoned veterans, he said, " We have but one 
rule here, that every student be a gentleman." 
When a member of the faculty pointed to a prec- 
edent and urged that persons must not be re- 
spected, Lee answered, " I always respect persons 
and care little for precedent." He knew the record 
of every student and worked always toward per- 
sonal relations with each one, and for the encour- 
agement of the greatest effort from them. Lee's 
character and personality, together with the power 
of his name, made him a great leader of students 
just as he had been a great leader of soldiers. 

During the years at Lexington Lee rode a great 
deal. Mounted on Traveler, and usually with one 



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186 ROBERT E. LEE 

of his daughters beside him riding on gendelitde 
" Lucy Long," he explored all diat beautiful coun- 
try which surrounds Lexington. A letter written 
one summer, while he was away from home, shows 
his affection for the horse he had ridden both in 
war and in peace. He says : " How is Traveler ? 
Tell him I miss him dreadfully, and have repented 
of our separation but once — and that is the whole 
time since we parted." A story which gives a 
glimpse of Lee's love for his faithful companion 
has been told by an eye-witness of the incident 
Lee was about to mount his horse when one of the 
ladies of whom he was taking leave put out her 
hand to pull a hair from Traveler's mane. Many 
people had taken souvenirs of the kind and his 
master could not bear to see him even so slightiy 
hurt. So, holding his hat in his hand, he bowed 
low before the lady and said, " Please, madam, 
take one of mine instead." 

Everywhere Lee went there were public mani- 
festations of the deep affection in which he was 
held. Even in the heart of the Virginia mountains 
the people recognized him and greeted him with 
joy. One day, while riding alone along a lonely 
forest road, he met an old soldier who stopped 
him and said, " General Lee, I am powerful glad 
to see you and I feel like cheering you." Lee told 
him that as they were just two and alone, there 
was no need of cheering. But the old soldier be- 



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AFTER THE WAR 187 

gan to wave his hat about his head, and rode 
off shouting, " Hurrah for General Lee ! " and the 
cheers kept up as long as the general was within 
hearing. 

Early in 1866 Lee was called to Washington 
to appear before the Reconstruction Committee 
of Congress. He testified with perfect frankness 
and with a manifestation of the finest feeling. In 
1869, being again in Washington, he called upon 
General Grant who had just become President. 
During all this period he was firm in his deter- 
mination to take no part in politics or in any po- 
litical controversy. He was urged to become a 
candidate for Governor of Virginia, the only civil 
office he had ever had any desire to hold, but he 
refused to consider it. While he believed with 
truth that Reconstruction was a grievous wrong, 
he did not feel that he could right it by anything 
he might do or say, and he never discussed it 
except with his closest friends. 

In 1869, while at White Sulphur Springs, West 
Virginia, in answer to an inquiry of General 
Rosecrans as to the feeling in the South at the 
time as to secession and as to the negroes, Lee 
wrote a simple, candid statement to the effect 
that the South had for all time abandoned any 
thought of secession, but had, on the contrary, 
accepted the result of the war in perfect good 
faith ; that there was every disposition to treat 



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i88 ROBERT E. LEE 

the negroes justiy in every respect, although 
there was a firm belief in the South that the 
granting of suffrage to them had been a terrible 
mistake. This statement was signed by himself 
and thirty-one other prominent Southern men 
who were present at the time. This was his near- 
est approach to political discussion. 

The years through which Lee was now passing 
were years of service and peace. They well de- 
serve the comment of Charles Francis Adams: — 

From the beginning to the end these parting years 
of his will bear the closest scrutiny. There was about 
them nothing venial, nothing querulous, nothing in 
any way sordid or disappointing. In his case there 
was no anti-climax, for those closing years were dig- 
nified, patient, useful, sweet in domesticity, they in 
all things commanded respect. 

As the years passed, Lee's strength visibly 
failed. A sore throat, contracted during the war, 
^ff had led to frequent colds and rheumatism which 
finally weakened his heart. He failed rapidly, and 
his physicians finally ordered him to the South. 
He spent the spring of 1870 in Florida and 
Georgia. Passing through North Carolina, he 
stopped at Warrenton to visit for the first time 
the grave of his daughter Annie who had died 
while at school there during the war. He wrote 
before going : — 

I wish also to visit my dear Annie's grave before I 



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AFTER THE WAR 189 

die. I have always desired to do so since the cessation 
of active hostilities, but have never been able. I 
wish to see how calmly she sleeps away from us all, 
with her dear hands folded over her breast as if in 
mute prayer, while her pure spirit is traversing the 
land of the blessed. 



Everywhere he went on this Southern trip 
crowds poured out to greet him and pay their 
tribute of affection and respect. Always modest, 
and now in feeble health, he tried to avoid the 
crowds, saying : " Why should they care to see 
me ? I am only a poor old Confederate 1 " He 
improved slowly throughout the trip and enjoyed 
meeting many old friends, though he knew well 
that it was for the last time. On the way back 
home he made several visits in Virginia and went 
both to Shirley and to the White House. 

During his absence from Lexington an appro- 
priation was made by the college for a home for 
Lee and for an annuity of three thousand dollars, 
to pass at his death to his family. But Lee re- 
fused both. 

Upon his return he again took up his duties, 
but when the summer vacation came, he went 
once more to the Hot Springs with the hope of 
gaining strength. He returned home in Septem- 
ber and gave himself to the work of the opening 
of the session. One wet afternoon he was kept 
for three hours at a meeting of the vestry of the 



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I90 ROBERT E. LEE 

Episcopal Church of which he was a devoted 
member. At the close he was very tired. He 
went home and found that the family were wait- 
ing supper for him. 

Mrs. Lee described the scene : " My husband 
came in, and I asked where he had been, re- 
marking that he had kept us waiting a long 
time. He did not reply, but stood up as if to 
say grace. No word proceeded from his lips, 
but with a sublime look of resignation he sat 
down in his chair." Physicians were called in at 
once and the patient rallied slightly. For two 
weeks it was hoped that he might recover, but 
at the end of that time he began to sink and 
grow rapidly worse. In these last hours his mind 
wandered to the past, and once more he led " the 
thin gray line *' to victory. His last words were, 
" Tell A. P. Hill he must come up." Jackson in 
his dying moments had said, " Tell A. P. Hill to 
prepare for action." Lee died early on the morn- 
ing of October 12. He was buried beneath the 
college chapel, not far from where Stonewall 
Jackson, his "strong right arm," sleeps. To- 
gether, having crossed over the river, they rest 
under the shade of the trees. 

The South mourned the death of its great 
leader, one whom it, with Benjamin H. Hill, 
held to be " a foe without hate, a friend without 
treachery, a soldier without cruelty, and a victim 



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AFTER THE WAR 191 

. without murmuring. He was a public officer 
without vices, a private citizen without wrong, a 
neighbor without reproach, a Christian without 
hypocrisy, and a man without guile. He was 
Caesar without his ambition, Frederick without 
his tyranny, Napoleon without his selfishness, 
and Washington without his reward. He was 
as obedient to authority as a servant and royal 
in authority as a king. He was as gentle as a 
woman in life, pure and modest as a virgin in 
thought, watchful as a Roman vestal, submis- 
sive to law as Socrates, and grand in battle as 
Achilles." Nor was mourning confined to the 
South. The North joined in paying tribute, not 
only to a great soldier, but to a great character. 
There can be found no better expression of what 
the North had come to see in Lee than the words 
of the " New York Herald " at the time of his 
death : — 

On a quiet autumn morning, in the land he loved 
so well, and, as he held, served so faithfully, the 
spirit of Robert Edward Lee left the clay which it 
had so much ennobled, and traveled out of this 
world into the great and mysterious land. The ex- 
pressions of regret which sprang from the few who 
surrounded the bedside of the dying soldier, on yes- 
terday, will be swelled to-day into one mighty voice 
of sorrow, resounding throughout our country, and 
extending over all parts of the world where his great 
genius and his many virtues are known. For not to 
the Southern people alone shall be limited the tribute 



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192 ROBERT E. LEE 

of a tear over the dead Virginian. Here in the North, 
forgetting that the time was when the sword of 
Robert Edward Lee was drawn against us — forget- 
ting and forgiving all the years of bloodshed and 
agony — we have claimed him as one of ourselves; 
have cherished and felt proud of his military genius 
as belonging to us; have recounted and recorded his 
triumphs as our own; have extolled his virtue as re- 
flecting upon us — for Robert Edward Lee was an 
American, and the great nation which gave him birth 
would be to-day unworthy of such a son if she re- 
garded him lightly. 

Never had mother nobler son. In him the military 
genius of America developed to a greater extent than 
ever before. In him all that was pure and lofty in 
mind and purpose found lodgment. Dignified without 
presumption, affable without familiarity, he united 
all those charms of manner which made him the idol 
of his friends and of his soldiers, and won for him the 
respect and admiration of the world. Even as, in the 
days of his triumph, glory did not intoxicate, so, 
when the dark clouds swept over him, adversity did 
not depress. From the hour that he surrendered his 
sword at Appomattox to the fatal autumn morning, 
he passed among men, noble in his quiet, simple 
dignity, displaying neither bitterness nor regret 
over the irrevocable past. He conquered us in mis- 
fortune by the grand manner in which he sustained 
himself, even as he dazzled us by his genius when the 
tramp of his soldiers resounded through the valleys of 
Virginia. 

And for such a man we are all tears and sorrow 
to-day. Standing beside his grave, all men of the 
South and men of the North can mourn with all the 
bitterness of four years of warfare erased by this 
common bereavement. May this unity of grief — 



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AFTER THE WAR 193 

this unselfish manifestation over the loss of the Bay- 
axd of America — in the season of dead leaves and 
withered branches which this death ushers in, bloom 
and blossom like the distant coming spring into the 
flowers of a heartier accord. 



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CHAPTER XV 

LEE AND THE NATION 

When he had surrendered at Appomattox, 
Lee gave hunself to the South and, in no lesser 
sense, to the Nation. His very surrender, made 
against the will and desire of those who believed 
in retiring to the mountains and drawing out the 
struggle indefinitely, proved Lee's belief that, the 
cause being lost, it was for the good of all that it 
should be abandoned. No man can ever know 
how great was the temptation to prolong the 
struggle to the death. The responsibility of the 
decision rested upon him alone, and it was fortu- 
nate for the South and the whole country that he 
was a man able to face great responsibility. 

From out the wreck he now looked across the 
time when passion, hatred, prejudice, and con- 
tention would prevail, to a day of peace, of broth- 
erhood, of real union, of nationality. Though 
Lee had fought for four years with all his great 
powers to dissolve the old Union, he became, at 
the end of the war, together with Lincoln and 
Grant, one of its preservers. These three great 
men, combined, gave to us the priceless heritage 
of a united country, united, not by law and force 



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LEE AND THE NATION 195 

alone, but by the stronger bonds of devotion and 
a common patriotism. Each one of the three 
played his part Lincoln died too soon to carry 
out his heartfelt longing ** to bind up the Nation's 
wounds/' but his fine spirit remained to brood 
over the people of the whole Nation for whom; 
regardless of their section, he had such a great 
and abiding love. 

Grant's great, generous soul, through his deal- 
ings with the South at Appomattox, gave the 
first impulse toward union, reconciliation, and 
affection between the North and the South. Had 
he been less big-hearted, had he been bitter or 
revengeful, had he demanded such harsh terms 
as to force the continuation of the war, he would 
have left a lasting bitterness in the heart of every 
Confederate soldier. As. it was, he did much at 
Appomattox to replace bitterness and hatred with 
admiration, respect, and liking. 

Lee did his part equally well. It was not only 
his to bring the war to an end as soon as he 
knew his cause to be hopeless, but also to recon- 
cile the South to what it had lost, to give it cour- 
age for the future, and to encourage a determi- 
nation in its people henceforth to bear their part 
in the common fortunes of the United States with 
courage and with credit Through his example 
he became the greatest force in the country 
toward the creation of a real national spirit He 



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196 ROBERT E. LEE 

sought no prominence for himself and longed 
only for peace and quiet The truth is that the 
failure of the Confederate cause had broken his 
heart. He was never again the same, but in spite 
of the greatness of his grief, he never gave way 
to it, nor is there any record of a single word 
from him of complaint or bitterness. 

The life he led in the five years following the 
war is a priceless heritage to the South and even 
more to the Nation as a whole. From the first 
he set the example of loyalty and submission. 
Nor was that all. Without making himself con- 
spicuous, he threw his entire weight on the side 
of conciliation and of restoration. He renewed, 
whole-heartedly, his allegiance to the United 
States, and he encouraged the whole South to 
do so, not as a mere act of necessity, but as a 
guiding principle for the future. He did this pur- 
posely, for, in spite of a very real modesty, he 
could not help knowing the power of his name 
and the force of his example. As Gamaliel Brad- 
ford says : — 

When he said that the career of the Confederacy 
was ended; that the hope of an independent govern- 
ment must be abandoned; and that the duty of the 
future was to abandon the dream of a Confederacy 
and to render a new and cheerful allegiance to a re- 
united government — his utterances were accepted 
as holy writ. No other human being upon earth, 
no, other earthly power could have produced such 



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LEE AND THE NATION 197 

prompt acceptance of the final and irreversible 
judgment. 

Grant said of Lee in the same strain, "All the 
people except a few political leaders in the South 
will accept whatever he does as right and will be 
guided to a great extent by his example." It was 
partly for this reason that he declined to leave 
Virginia or to accept any one of the offers of 
positions which gave no opportunity for the serv- 
ice of his people. In the same spirit he made his 
application to the President for pardon, saying 
to his son that it was right for him to set an ex- 
ample of making a formal submission to the civil 
authorities and that he thought by so doing he 
might possibly be in a better position to be of 
use to Confederates who were not protected by 
military paroles, especially Jefferson Davis. Of 
course it was true that the outcome of the war 
had in no wise changed Lee's belief that the 
course he took was right His application for 
pardon was in no sense an admission of guilt, 
for he felt none; but simply the acknowledg- 
ment of authority and therefore the act of a good 
citizen. In 1869, in speaking of this to General 
Wade Hampton, he said, " I could have taken 
no other course save with dishonor, and if it were 
all to be gone over again, I should act in pre- 
cisely the same way." 

While Lee's pardon was not granted until 



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198 ROBERT E. LEE 

1868, he had no feeling of being an alien or an 
outcast " I believe it to be," he said, " the duty 
of every one to unite in the restoration of the 
country, and the reestablishment of peace/' Again 
he said : " The interests of the State are therefore 
the same as those of the United States. Its pros- 
perity will rise or fall with the welfare of the 
country. The duty of its citizens, then, appears 
too plain to me to admit of doubt All should 
unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of 
war, and restore the blessings of peace. They 
should remain if possible in the country ; pro- 
mote harmony and good feeling ; qualify them- 
selves to vote, and elect to the State and general 
legislatures wise and patriotic men, who will de- 
vote their abilities to the interests of the country 
and the healing of all dissensions.'' Still again, 
he said, '' It is the duty of every citizen in the 
present condition of the country to do all in his 
power to aid in the restoration of peace and har- 
mony, and in no way to oppose the policy of the 
State or General Government directed to that 
object" For these reasons Lee also set his face 
firmly against a proposed wholesale emigration 
from the Southern States to Mexico or South 
America. 

In the same spirit Lee discouraged all personal 
bitterness. He said: "All controversy will only 
serve to prolong angry and bitter feeling and 



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LEE. AND THE NATION 199 

postpone the period when reason and charity 
may resume then* sway. I know of no surer way 
to exact the truth than by burying contention 
with the war." On one occasion, when a minister 
was expressing in very bitter terms his indigna- 
tion at Lee's indictment, Lee quickly changed the 
subject and later said privately to the minister : 
" Doctor, there is a good old book which I read, 
and you preach h-om, which says, 'Love your 
enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to 
them that hate you, and pray for them which 
despitefuUy use you.' Do you think your re- 
marks this evening were quite in the spirit of 
that teaching ? " The minister apologized for his 
bitterness, and Lee added : " I have fought against 
the people of the North because I believed they 
were seeking to wrest from the South dearest 
rights. But I have never cherished toward them 
bitter or vindictive feelings, and have never seen 
the day when I did not pray for them." When 
one of the professors at Washington College, in 
Lee's presence, criticized Grant rather harshly, 
Lee said, " Sir, if you ever presume to speak dis- 
respectfully of General Grant in my presence, 
either you or I will sever his connection with this 
college." To another bitter Southerner he said : 
" Madam, don't bring up your sons to detest the 
United States Government Recollect that we 
form one country now. Abandon all these local 



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200 ROBERT E. LEE 

animosities and make your sons Americans.'' 
These words have since that time been to thou- 
sands of Southerners a trumpet call to patriotism. 
By his life of work, of service, of submission, 
of loyalty, of patriotic Americanism, during the 
years after the war, Lee set a standard for South- 
em men. As one writer has phrased it, " Robert 
E. Lee was not only the consummate flower of 
the old South ; he is also the beacon and prophet 
of the new." His place in national history has 
probably been best stated by Charles Francis 
Adams, who doses his essay with these words : — 

The bronze efHgy of Robert E. Lee, mounted on 
his charger and with the insignia of his Confederate 
rank, will from its pedestal in the nation's capital, 
gaze across the Potomac at his old home at Arlington, 
even as that of Cromwell dominates the yard at 
Westminster upon which his skull once looked down. 
When that time comes, Lee's monument will be edu- 
cational, — it will typify the historical appreciation 
of all that goes to make up the loftiest type of char- 
acter, military and civic, exemplified in an opponent, 
once dreaded but ever respected; and, above all, it 
will symbolize and commemorate that loyal accept- 
ance of the consequences of defeat, and the patient 
upbuilding of a people under new conditions by con- 
stitutional means, which I hold to be the greatest ed- 
ucational lesson America has yet taught a once skep- 
tical but now silenced world. 

THE END 



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INDEX 



Adams, C. F., Sr., quoted, 173. 

Adams, C. F., Jr., on right of 
secession, 105; on Lee's "hu- 
manity in war," 132; on 
Army of Northern \^urginia, 
173; on Lee after the war, 
188; on a statue to Lee, 206. 

Alabama, 91. 

Alexander, General E. P., 75, 
164-65. 

Alvord, Benjamin, 31. 

Amelia Court-House, 159-60. 

Anderson, Major Rob^, 93. 

Anderson, Robert H., 75. 

Antietam, Battle of, 128, 147. 

Appomattox Court-House, 147, 
161, 164-69. 

Arkansas, 91, 94, 108. 

Arlington, 12, 38-41, 69-71, 
83. 88, 93, 111-12. 

Banks, General N. P., 121. 
Bartlett, W. H. C, 31. 
Battine, Captain, estimate of 

Lee, 174. 
Beauregard, P. G. T., 53, 65-66. 
B^ard, Claudius, 25. 
Blair, Francis P., 95. 
Blanchard, A. G., 30. 
Brackett, A. G., 77. 
Bradford, Gamaliel, Jr., on 

Lee's influence in the South, 

196-97. 
Bradf ute, W. R., 77. 
Bragg, Braxton, 64. 
Branch, Mrs. James R., 139. 
Branch, Mrs. Thomas, 139. 
Brown, John, Harper's Ferry 

raid, 85-86. 
Buchanan, James, 92 n. 
Buchanan, R. C, 31. 



Bttckner, S. B., 6<. 

Buena >^sta. Battle of, 48. 

Bull Run. See Manassas. 

Bumside, Ambrose E., in 
Mexican War, 64; captures 
Southern coast positions, 116; 
commands Army of the Poto- 
mac, 128; at Fredericksburg, 
129; replaced by Hooker, 
129. 

Butler, B. F., 153, 156. 

Calhoun, John C, 18. 

Caroline, Queen, 3. 

Carr, E. A., 77. 

Carter, Ann Hill. See Mrs. 

Henry Lee. 
Carter, Charles, 11. 
Casey, Silas, 31. 
Cerro Gordo, Battle of, 58. 
Chamberlain, General J. L., 

171-72; on surrender, 172. 
Chambersburg, Pa., burning of, 

157. 
Chambliss, John R., 75. 
Chancellorsville, Battle of, 

129-30, 147. 
Church, A. E., 31. 
Claiborne^ William, 41. 
Clinton, George, loi. 
Cocke, Philip St. George, 31. 
Cold Harbor, Battle of, 147. 

155. 

Confederate Army, Adams on, 
173; Hooker on, 172-73; 
Swinton on, 173; sufferings 
of. 135-36. 144. 155. 157-58; 
surrender of, 162-72. 

Confederate States ot America, 
foundation of, 91 ; advan- 
tages in the war, 109-10; dis- 



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204 



INDEX 



advantages, 107-09; condi- 
tions in, 151-53. 

Contreras, Battle of, 59-60. 

Cooke, Philip St. George, 31. 

Cooper, Samuel, 65, 114. 

Cosby, G. B., 77. 

Cozzens, Mr., 23. 

Crittenden, G. B., 31. 

Custis, George W. P., 33, 39, 
70, 80, 83. 89. 

Custis, Mary R. See Mrs. R. 
E. Lee. 

Danville, 159-60. 

Davie, William R., 4. 

Davies, Charles, 24-25. 

Davies, T. A., 31. 

Davis, Jefferson, 30, 65, 74, 76, 

116, 135, 156, 159, 162, I77» 

181, 197. 
Delaware, 94. 

DeLeon, T. C, quoted, 176. 
Dickerson, Mahlon, 42. 
Dodge, T. A., on Lee, 174. 
Donelson, Fort, 117, 151. 
Douglas, David B., 26. 
Drayton, Thomas F., 31. 

Early, Jubal A., 65, 157. 
Eaton, A. B., 31. 
Emory, William H., 31, 77. 
Engineer Corps, 36. 
Evans, N. G., 77. 
Ewell, Richard S., 65. 

Fair Oaks, Battle of, 122. 
Farmville, 161. 
Fisher, Fort, Fall of, 158. 
Five Forks, Battle of, 159. 
Florida, 91, 116. 
Floyd, John B., 88, 115. 
Foster, J. G., 53, 64. 
Frazier's Farm, Battle of, 124. 
Fredericksburg, Battle of, 129, 

147. 
Fremont, John C, 121. 

Gaines Mills, Battle of, 124. 
Garnett, Robert S., 75, 113-14- 



Garrard, Kenner, 77. 

Gatlin, R. C, 31. 

Georgia, 91, 116. 

Gettysburg, Battle of, i32-35» 
147. 

Gimbrode, Thomas, 25. 

Goldsborough, L. M., 116. 

Gordon, John B., 172. 

Grant, Ulysses S., in Mexican 
War, 64; captures Forts 
Donelson and Henry, 117; 
assumes chief command of 
Federal armies, 136; plan of 
campaign of 1864, 153; at 
Spottsylvania Court House, 
154; at the Wilderness, 154; 
at Cold Harbor, 155; at 
Petersburg, 155-59; cam- 
paign of 1865, 158-59; enters 
Petersburg, 160; at Appo- 
mattox, 165-69; correspond- 
ence with Lee, 163-64; 
terms of surrender, 167-68; 
described by Porter, 166; 
generosity, 169-71, 194-95; 
visits Lee, 174; prevents 
prosecution of Lee and his 
men, 180-81; criticism of 
resented by Lee, 199; letters 
of, 167-68, 180; quoted, 167, 
160, 181, 197. 

Greeley, Horaice, 93. 

Greene, Nathanael, 4. 

Gregg, D. M., 75. 

Halleck, W. H., 126. 

Hallowell, Benjamin, 15, 21. 

Hamilton, Alexander, loi. 

Hampton, Wade, 197. 

Hancock, Winfield S., 64. 

Hardee, W. J., 65, 77. 

Harper's Ferry, John Brown, 
at, 85-86; captured by Jack- 
son, 127; Lee at, 85-86, 130. 

Heintzeiman, S. P., 31. 

Henderson, Colonel, G. F. R., 
on Lee, no, 173. 

Henry, Fort, 117, 151. 

Hill, A. P., 65, 190. 



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205 



Hill, B. H., 141 ; on Lee, 190- 
91. 

Hill, D. H., 65, 127. 

Hitchcock, E. A., 28. 

Holmes, T. H., 30. 

Hood, John B., 75, 77, 158. 

Hooker, Joseph E., in Mexican 
War, 64; assumes command 
of Federal army, 129; at 
Chancellorsville, 129-30; re- 
placed by Meade, 132; on 
Confederate army, 172. 

Hopkins, W. F., 26. 

Howard, Oliver O., 75. 

Humphreys, O. A., 31. 

Jackson, Andrew, 17. 
ackson, T. J., Stonewall, 65- 

66, 75, no, 121, 123-24, 126- 

27, 129-30, 135, 190. 
Johnson, President Andrew, 

178, 181. 
Johnson, Reverdy, 1 81. 
Johnson, R. W., 77. 
Johnston, Albert S., 30, 32, 64, 
, 76-77, 83, 114, 151. 
Johnston, Joseph E., 30, 32-33, 

42, 55. 64, 77, 88, 120-22, 

153, 158, 177; on Lee, 31-32. 

Kentucky, 91, 94. 
Kinsley, Z. J. D., 29. 
Kirby Smith, Edward, 65, 75, 
77, 177. 

Lee, Agnes, 44. 
Lee, Algernon S., 11. 
Lee, Anne, Mrs. William Mar- 
shall, II, 96-97. 
Lee, Ann Hill Carter, Mrs. 

'Henry, 4, 14, 15-16, 37-38. 
Lee, Annie, 44, 143, 188-89. 
Lee, Arthur, 3, 9. 
Lee, Charles C., 11. 
Lee, Fitzhugh, 11, 75, 77- 
Lee, Francis L., 3, 9. 
Lee, G. W. C, 29, 44, 67, 75, 

83, 143. 
Lee, Henry (i), i. 



Lee, Henry (2), 3. 

Lee, Henry (3), "Light-Horse 
Harry," 3-6, 9, 13, 16. 

Lee, Henry (4), il. 

Lee, Lancelot, i. 

Lee, Lionel, i. 

Lee, Mary, 44, 71. 

Lee, Mary Randolph Custis, 
Mrs. Robert E., 33, 38-39, 
70-71, III, 119; quoted, 190. 

Lee, Matilda, Mrs. Henry Lee, 

l4, "^'Mildred, Mrs. E. V. 
Childe, II. 

Lee, Mildred, 44, 70. 

Lee, Philip Ludwell, 3. 

Lee, Richard (i), 1-2. 

Lee, Richard (2), 2. 

Lee, Richard H., 3, 9. 

Lee, Robert Edward, birth, 10; 
environment of his boyhood, 
6-8, 10; his boyish pastimes, 
12; visits his father's grave, 
13; influence of Washington 
upon, 14; relations with his 
mother, 14-16; his choice of 
a career, 16-17; enters West 
Point, 18-^1; life at West 
Point, 21-34; friendship with 

tE. Johnston, 31-32; with 
avis, 32; abstemiousness, 
33; his engagement to Miss 
Custis, 33; appearance in 
1828, 34; graduates from 
West Point, 34; enters engi- 
neer corps, 36; at Fortress 
Monroe, 37; his marriage, 
^8; his studies, 41; stationed 
in Washington, 41-42; on 
boundary commission, 42- 
43; promoted to first lieuten- 
ant, 43 ; stationed in St. Louis, 
43-44; promoted to captain, 
4^^; his children, 44; sta- 
tioned at Fort Hamilton, 45- 
47; fondness for children, 45, 
66-69, 79^0; fondness tor 
pets, 46-47, 50, 63, 79-81 ; on 
West Point board of visit- 



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206 



INDEX 



ors, 46; in Mexican War, 49- 
61; at Vera Cruz, 56-58; at 
Ceno Gordo, 58-59; at Con- 
treras, 59-^; at Molino del 
Rey, 60; at Chapultepec, 60- 
61; wounded, 61; brevetted 
for gallantry, 61 ; on General 
Scott, 62; returns home, 63; 
companions in Mexico, 63- 
65; description of in 1848, 
66; advice to his son, 68^; 
81-82; Christmas at Arling- 
ton, 70-72; his strictness 
with his cnildren, 72-73; sta- 
tioned in Florida, 73; sta- 
tioned in Baltimore, 73; re- 
fuses offer of Cuban junta. 



74; superintendent of West 
Point, 74-75; lieutenant-col- 
onel of Second Cavalry, 76; 



joins regiment and organizes 
it, 77; stationed in Texas, 
77-88; life on the frontier, 
78-80; declines gift of Arling- 
ton, 83-84; suppresses John 
Brown's raid, 85-86; on pro- 
motion in the army, 82, 87- 
88; present at Lincoln's in- 
auguration, 88; views on se- 
cession, 91-02, 103-05; pro- 
moted to colonel, 93; his de- 
cision in 1861, 94-98, 100- 
06; offered command of the 
Federal army, p5; resigns, 
96; leaves Arlington, 98; 
elected to command Virginia 
troops^ 98; appears before 
Virgima Convention, 98-100; 
brigadier-general in Confed- 
erate army, 112; military ad- 
viser to President, 113, 118- 
19; in command in western 
Virgima, 1 13-16; promoted 
to general, 114; criticism of 
his failure, 116; stationed in 
South Carolina, 1 16-17; as- 
sumes command of Army of 
Northern Virginia, 122; in 
Peninsular campaign, 123- 



25 ; ability to read opponents, 
124; in Seven Davs' Battles, 
124-25; at Second Manassas, 
126; invades Maryland, 126- 
28; forbids foragine, 127, 
130-32; at Fredericksburg, 
129; at Chancellorsville, 129- 
30; on Jackson's wound and 
death, 130; invades North, 
130-35; on reprisals, 132; at 
Gettysburg, 133-35; oners to 
resign, 135; in winter quar- 
ters, 1863, 136; describes his 
appearance, 137; simplicity 
ot life, 138-39; fondness for 
fun, 141 ; lack of bitterness, 
142, 194-200; burdens of his 
position, 143-fHi 149; his 
influence on his men, 144, 
106-97; his audacity in bat- 
tle, ifK-45; his horses, 146- 
40; his description of Trav- 
eler, 147-48; at the Wilder- 



ness, 154; at Spottsylvania 
Court-House, 154; at Cold 
Harbor, 155; at Petersburg, 



1^5-^9; advises evacuation 
of Richmond, 156; prepara- 
tions to retreat, 158; general- 
in-chief, 159; abandons Pe- 
tersburg and Richmond, 159- 
60; ordersnotcarried out, 160; 
responsibility for surrender, 
162; correspondence with 
Grant, 163-64; at Appomat- 
tox, 164-70; described by 
General Porter, 166; estimate 
of by Schaff, 171; by Hen- 



derson, 173; by Livermore, 

Battine, 174 
Roosevelt, 174; by Dodge, 



173; by Battine, 174; by 



1 74 ; his farewell address, 175; 
leaves army for home, 175; 
returns to Richmond, 176; 
retires to country, 177; in- 
dicted by sp-and jury, 178; 
appeals to Grant, against in- 
dictment, 179; applies to 
President for pardon, 179-80; 



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INDEX 



207 



Grant stops indictment^ 180- 
81; pardoned by President, 
181; problem of support, 
181-^3; refuses business of- 
fers, 182; refuses annuity, 
182, 189; becomes president 
of Washington College, 183- 
84; his work as president, 
184-85; his hold on the af- 
fections of the Southern 
people, 186-87; appears be- 
fore Reconstruction Com- 
mittee, 187; refuses political 
office, 187; on results of the 
war, 187-88; his health fails, 
188; his death, 190; feeling in 
North towards, 191-9^; his 
nationalism, 194-96; his na- 
tional influence, 194-200; C. 
F. Adams on, 200; letters 
from, 45 53, 56, 68-69, 70- 
73, 78. 80-84, 86-88, 91-92, 
95-98, 139-40, 179; quoted, 
12-13, 45-47, 49-50, 53-59, 
62-63, 79, 99, 104, 133, 135, 
137, 141-42, 163-65, 167-68, 
170, 174, 177-78, 182, 186, 
188-89, 197-200. 

Lee, Robert E., Jr., 44, 67. 

Lee, Stephen D., 75. 

Lee, Sydney S., 11, 57, 96-97- 

Lee, Thomas, 2-3. 

Lee, W. H. F., 44, 69-71, 81, 

143-44- 

Legare, Hugh S., 42. 

Letcher, Governor John, 94. 

Lincoln, Abraham, ^ elected 
President, 90-91; views on 
secession, 93 ; calls for troops, 
04; disagrees with McClel- 
(an, 125; visits Petersbui]g; 
and Richmond, 160; assassi- 
nated, 177; lack of bitterness, 
177-78; part in preservation 
of the Union, 194-95. 

Livermore, W. R., quoted on 
Lee, 173. 

Lodge, Henry C, quoted, loi. 

Lomax, L. L., 75, 77. 



Lonestreet, James, in Mexican 
War, 65; at Seven Pines, 
122; at Second Manassas, 
126; at Gettysburg, 133-34- 

Louisiana, 91. 

Lucy Long, 146, 186. 

McCabe, Gordon, on Traveler, 

McClellan, George B., in Mexi- 
can War, 53, 64; in West Vir- 
ginia, 1 13-14; organizes 
Federal army, 118, 120; in 
Peninsular campaign,! 19-25 ; 
replaced by Pope, 126; re- 
sumes command, 127; at An- 
tietam, 128: replaced by 
Bumside, 128. 

McDowell, Irvin, 64, 121. 

MacGruder, John B., 30, 65, 
120, 156. 

Mcllvaine, Bbhop Charles P., 

McKean, T. J., 31. 
Macomb, John N., 42. 
McPherson, J. B., 75. 
Madison, James, 5, 9. 



Major, J. P., 77. 
Malvern Hill, Battle of, 



_25. 



124- 



Manassas, Battle of, 113, 142. 
Manassas, Second Battle of, 

126. 
Mansfield, Tared, 25. 
Marcy, R. B., 31. 
Marion, Francis, 4. 
Marshall, Colonel Charles, 165. 
Marshall, John, 5. 
Maryland, fails to secede, 91, 

94; invasion of, 126-28. 
Mason, Charles, 34. 
Mason, George, loi. 
Massachusetts, 102. 
Matamoras, Battle of, 48. 
Meade, George G., commands 

Federal army, 132-33; 

quoted, 174-75- 
Mercer, Hugh W., 31. 
Merrimac, destruction of, 122. 



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208 



INDEX 



Mexican War, 48-65. 
Mississippi, 91. 
Missouri, 91, 94. 
Mitchel, O. M., 31. 
Moiino del Rey, Battle of, 60. 
Monroe, Fortress, 37. 
Monroe, James, 9, 18. 
Monterey, Battle of, 48, 64. 

Nashville, 117, 151. 

Newmarket, Battle of, 157. 

New Orleans, 151. 

New York, 10 1. 

New York City, 132. 

New York Herald, on Lee*s 

death, 191-93. 
Norfolk, 122. 

North Carolina, 91, 94, loi. 
Northrop, L. B., 31. 

Oakes, James, 77. 
0*Hara, Theodore, 77. 
Outlook, on Lee, 106. 

Palmer, I. N., 77. 
Palo Alto, Battle of, 48, 64. 
Peace Conference, 93. 
Pender, W. D., 75. 
Pendleton, W. N., 30. 
Petersburg, siege of, 147, 155- 

59. 
Pickett, George E., 134. 
Pierce, Franklin, 76. 
Pillow, G. J., 59. 
Poinsett, J. R., 42. 
Polk, Leonidas, 20, 30. 
Pope, John, 126. 
Porter, General Horace, on Lee 

and Grant, 166. 

Rains, Gabriel S., 31. 
Randolph, Edmund, 5. 
Ravensworth, 37-38. 
Rawle, William, book quoted, 

26-27. 
Republican party, foundation 

and principles of, 90. 
Resaca de la Palma, Battle of, 

48, 64. 



Reynolds, J. J., 114. 
Rhode Island, loi. 
Richmond, 120, 121, 160. 
Rives, W. C, 42. 
Roosevelt, Theodore, on Lee, 

174. 
Rosecrans, W. S., 1 14-15, 187. 
Ross, R. H., 25. 
Ruger, Thomas H., 75. 
Ruggles, George D., 75. 

Sailor's Creek, 160. 

Savage's Station, Battle of, 
124. 

ScharF, Morris, on Lee, 171. 

Schofield, John B., on Lee, 75. 

Scott, General Winfield, 48; 
sends Lee to St. Louis, 43; 
places Lee on his staff, 52-53; 
arrives in Mexico, 54; on Lee, 
56, 58-61; Lee on, 62; se- 
cures appointment to army 
of W. H. F. Lee, 81; on se- 
cession, 93; seeks to persuade 
Lee not to resign, 95. 

Secession, of the Southern 
States, 91; theory taught at 
West Point, 26-27; origin of 
theory, 100-03. 

Sedgwick, John, 64, 77. 

Seven Days' Battles, 124-25, 

147. 

Seven Pines, Battle of, 122. 

Sharosburg, Battle of, 128, 147. 

Shendan, P. H., 75, 157, 160- 
61, 164. 

Sherman, W. T., 177. 

Shiloh, Battle of, 151. 

Shirley, 12-13, 189. 

Sill, J. w., 75. 

Slavery, Lee s feeling toward, 
89; a subject of party dis- 
cussion, 89-92. 

Slaves, Mr. Custis emancipates, 
83; Lee emancipates, 89. 

Smith, G. W., 53. 55. 

Smith, J. L., 53. 

South Carolina, 91, 116. 

South Mountain, Battle of, 128. 



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INDEX 



209 



Spotswood, Governor Alexan- 
der, 2, 4. 

Spottsylvania Court-House, 
Battle of, 147, 154. 

Stanley, D. S., 77. 

Stephens, Alexander H., on 
Lee, 100, iio-ii. 

Stevens, I. I., 53. 

Stoneman, George, 77. 

Stratford, 3, 9-10. 

Stuart, J. E. B., 75, 85-86, 123, 
128, 133, 155. 

Sumner, Edwin V., 77, 88. 

Sumter, Fort, 93. 

Sumter, Thomas, 4. 

Swinton, William, on Confed- 
erate army, 173. 

Taylor, Richard, 65. 

Taylor, Zachary, 48, 65. 

Tennessee, 91, 94, 108. 

Texas, 91. 

Thayer, Sylvanus, 19-20, 24. 

Thomas, George H., 64, 77, 158. 

Totten, J. G., 53. 

Tower, Z. B., 53. 

Traveler, 146-49, 165, 185-86. 

Travis, Charles E., 77. 

Union, argument for its suprem- 
acy, 102-03; advantage of in 
the war, 107-09. 

Van Dorn, Earl, 77. 

Vera Cruz, Siege of, 56-58, 64. 

Vicksburg, 134, 151. 



Vinton, T. L., 75. 
Virginia, 6-8, 91-92, 94, loi- 
03. 

Warren, Thomas, 26. 
Washington College, 183-85, 

189. 
Washington, George, 5, 9, 14, 

lOI. 

Washington, Lewis, 86. 
Webb, A. S., 75. 
Webster, Daniel, 102. 
Westmoreland County, Va., 9. 
West Point, history, 18-20; re- 

ouirements for admission, 19 ; 

aescribed, 20; uniform, 21- 

22; life at, 22-23, 30, 32-33; 

curriculum, 23-30; ideal of, 

4. 

ite House, 39-41, 119, 189. 
Whiting, W. H. C, 77. 
Wilderness, Battle of, 145, 147, 

154. 
Williamsburg, Battle of, 121. 
Wilmington, U,. C, importance 

of, 151; fall of, 158. 
Wilson, Woodrow, on Lee, 149- 

50. 
Wise, Henry A., 115. 
Wise, John S., 141. 
Wolseley, Lord, 145-46. 
Woodbury, Levi, 42. 
Wool, John, 49-51. 
Worth, William J., 28, 56, 59. 

Yorktown, Siege of, 120-21. 



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